Short season

From Florida, per usual, comes the disappointing news that, fewer than 100 combined games into its shortened, proof-of-concept season, Major League Baseball may have to toss the first pitch back to Dr. Anthony Fauci for testing and scrap it all. A reported 13 members of the Miami Marlins have tested positive for Covid 19.

Only a few games have been cancelled so far, and no one is panicking, but how anyone could proceed with confidence from here is hard to imagine. Commissioner Rob Manfred and the league office will no doubt talk tough about staying courses for a few days, and then baseball will quietly recede back into the pile of can’ts, not-yets, and probably shouldn’t haves that is our stalled society.

This stings.

It’s not losing baseball per se. I had not yet reactivated my Hulu Live account and had really only toyed with the idea of doing so. I rather enjoy my elevated levels of creative productivity in the void of everything else I used to do, and as comforting as a nightly baseball habit seems at times, the game has not been a big part of my media diet for years. Most summers, I just keep half an eye on the standings and stats so that I am positioned to know what is going on when the playoffs roll around in the fall. Then I’m all in, because there is nothing like playoff anything.

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But it is the absolutely vindictive, decisive effrontery of the swat-down, the kick back, the hard no. This micro-season had been in the works for months, its methodology, one assumes, vetted by the very best vetters in the business. The Marlins had played three games, two wins and a loss in Philadelphia, where the Yankees were scheduled to visit next. Now we’ve got half a poisoned team, another poisoned locker room, and no straight line to travel.

It feels this will happen to anyone who mounts an insurrection of the old normal: live music, school, Quaker meetings, whatever.

But here’s why it really hurts. I don’t know what I will do without football in the fall.


Read more installments of Village Voices by John Burdick.