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And Baseball Is Back. . .Sort Of

July 24, 2020

Yesterday was Opening Day for Major League Baseball. I watched the Dodgers play the Giants in front of a group of cardboard cutouts. But, my beloved Mariners didn’t start play until today. So, it didn’t count. . .not for me.

Today I paid $25 for a month’s worth of baseball via MLB.TV. It’s the only way I can get Mariners games. In the past, I’ve paid for the entire year up front. This year, I’m going month-to-month.

This was not your typical baseball game. First, is the lack of fans. A typical baseball stadium will hold 40,000 fans. They make up a fuzzy backdrop to the TV broadcast. A mixture of colors and shapes that all blend into a mosiac backdrop. Tonights game was row afer row after row of empty green seats.

Typically a homerun or foul ball causes a scramble as fans via for a souvenir. In the best of cases, the ball is then handed to a young fan almost too small to hold it. I miss that. Tonight homeruns and foul balls bounced around the empty stadium like a badly designed pinball game.

And there were lots of masks. Some players wore them, but the coaches all wore them.

The game was played in Houston. However, the broadcast showed the Mariners home stadium. That’s where the Mariners broadcast team was. They were sitting in the press box of an empty stadium watching the video feed of a game played 2000 miles away in another empty stadium, so they could broadcast the game to the fans who were at home.

Surreal.

There are rules changes this year too, that most casual fans wouldn’t notice, but change some of the fundamental strategies of the game.

  • Relief pitchers must now pitch to a minimum of three batters, unlike the single batter they could face in previous seasons.
  • The designated hitter has been expanded to both leagues.
  • If a game goes to extra innings each team starts with a runner on 2nd base.
  • Games that have gone 5 innings and then delayed are not going to be made up.

Also, baseball has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement in a big way. The back of the pitchers mound has baseball’s logo with the letters BLM.

The Mariners dropped a laugher 8-2 to the defending American League *Cheaters, I mean Champions. It broke a string of 11 Opening Day wins in a row for the hapless M’s.

But, it was baseball for now. I’m reminded of the saying of the great relief pitcher Benjamin Franklin,

What have we got Dr Franklin?

A season, if we can keep it.

Finally, a breath of normalacy, even if it’s anything but normal.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

*The Houston Astros were found to have stolen opposting team’s catcher signs for the past two seasons in violation of the rules of baseball.

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