Are We Missing Sports Yet?

My days are so full that I mostly don't notice that all sports have stopped for the time being. But, every now and then I remember. This past Monday was Patriot’s Day – which is a big deal in the Boston area – where I’m from. It’s typically the first day of April vacation and Marathon Monday, as in the Boston Marathon, and the earliest start on the MLB schedule, with the Red Sox throwing the first pitch just after 11am. But this year, MLB is shut down and the Boston Marathon is scheduled to be run in September.

 

When baseball shut down, I honestly thought I would miss it more than I do. My family and I always look forward to baseball season, but this year not so much. There was the cheating scandal that rocked the Astros and the Red Sox, and the Red Sox trading their best player and one of their best starting pitchers. My daughter is still upset at the notion that Mookie Betts would be playing for the Dodgers. And with the Red Sox best pitcher needing season-ending surgery, this looked like a lost season.

 

But we still had the Twins, at least. We moved to the Twin Cities last summer, and Target Field is a great place to see a game. It doesn’t have the energy of Fenway Park, but at least it’s more comfortable and I feel less likely to need a shower after going there. We were looking forward to spending a few summer nights at Target Field, getting to know the Twins just a bit more.

 

MLB shut down Spring Training after the NBA suspended its season. I mentally marked opening day, the Target Field home opener, and Jackie Robinson Day when all players wear #42 to celebrate the breaking of the color barrier in baseball. Why a color barrier had to be broken at all is another discussion. But those were only fleeting acknowledgements. Where we once watched baseball and basketball, my wife, son and I have been watching reruns of “The West Wing.”

 

There is enough content out there to fill the sports void should this continue for any length of time. All of this raises a serious question, when sports do come back, will the fans come too? Perhaps, to a degree, but there's no telling how much this quarantine will shake our culture. I miss the last inning or last second comeback. I miss not knowing how the game is going to play out. I miss second-guessing game tactics. Mostly, I miss sitting in a crowded stadium with a group of strangers all invested in the same outcome. 

 

So, yeah, sports will come back. It has to, right?

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