For many years, I’ve had to endure a transplanted city dweller’s worst nightmare — a hugely popular sports franchise that has absolutely no business being hugely popular. As a longtime resident of Chicago’s North side, I’ve been a staunch, dyed in the wool Cubs hater, almost from the day I arrived here. For six months every year, large swaths of the city are rife with traffic jams, congestion and drunk, obnoxious tourists who have come to immerse themselves in the hoopla, hubbub, hullabaloo and ballyhoo that is Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. Not so this year, however. For the first time in the history of the team, April, May, June and most of July passed without a single game being played. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. But you knew that, as with all sports, baseball was always going to come back eventually.
With the lingering question as to whether there would even be an NFL season in 2020 — a question that still has yet to be definitively answered — the start of even a truncated MLB campaign without fans sitting in the stands is nonetheless a remarkable victory for sports in general during this difficult and contentious period. I never thought I’d be so happy to see a baseball season commence, even one that includes my least favorite sports franchise on the planet.
The NFL and players union obviously still have some issues that need to be ironed out, and since a contact sport in which players are literally breathing in each other’s faces when they’re blocking and tackling is a far cry from the limited and relatively infrequent collisions of a typical baseball game, we could see a scenario in which the league continues to lop games off the schedule until the season is scrapped in its entirety. Of course, most of us fervently hope that doesn’t happen, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
I’m curious to hear how our readers feel about the start of the MLB season; now that baseball games are being played, are you more confident the upcoming football season than you were before, or are both sports destined for inevitable failure, due to the relentlessness of the COVID-19 virus? And for heavens sake, please leave the political arguments out of the discussion. I promised the editors that we would keep it clean this time, so that they won’t have to shut down the comments. Some very valid points have been made on both sides of the debate, by such luminaries as SuperG66 and Francesco Pergolini, but if we want to beat ourselves senseless about whether or to what extent politics are involved, there are dozens of other sites available for us to have that argument. At the end of the day, if we’re going to err, we have little choice but to err on the side of caution, since this outbreak has already killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.