No Baseball!

These days, during the regular baseball season, pretty much every game is broadcast on TV by someone, so it doesn’t take a lot of effort to see every game your team plays (it generally just takes money). But during Spring Training it’s rare that a game your team plays is televised.

So I was looking forward to watching a Twins game yesterday — one of those rare Spring Training games that was being televised. After several months of winter (and no baseball), I’m ready to start seeing games again.

But I turned on the TV to discover the MLB cancelled Spring Training!

Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19), of course. And rightfully so. This thing is serious.

(FWIW, my guess is the hyper-vigilant state we’re entering now will be instrumental in mitigating the effects. Hopefully in three months or so we’ll be looking back at this as a near miss and cautionary tale.)

There is talk about this author or that author having predicted this, and it’s true there have been stories and movies that eerily fit the current circumstances (Contagion, which is very good, is the one everyone is re-watching now).

But this scenario has always been on the shortlist of Reasons Why Humanity Buys It. Given a global economy and an easily mobile population, a virus is always a major concern.

Remember what happened to the Gros Michel. It is no more. We just have to hope humanity has enough genetic diversity to survive something like that. (We are diverse, but we are just one species with far more in common than not.)

§

We can be very thankful this virus seems to ignore children. One of the greatest tragedies in life is outliving your child. It shouldn’t work that way.

But as a baby boomer, I’ll need to be careful.

There is a irony here: It affects the supporters of the Liar in Chief, Twitler, who was telling them it was all fake news, a hoax, no big deal. Given the inability of the system to reject this corrupt splinter, has nature risen to the occasion? They do refer to it as the “body politic.”

§

Anyway, the MLB has cancelled all Spring Training games and delayed the start of the season for “at least” two weeks.

This has a huge impact on starting pitchers, which are key to any game. These pitchers work themselves up to pitching, each day throwing a bit more until they can throw 100 pitches or so.

Now they’ll have to ramp down — can’t stay at that level without games — and then they’ll need advance warning to start ramping up again when (and if) the season begins.

In general, baseball players need to train, so this break really throws a monkey wrench into the works.

There are also questions about whether baseball should start without allowing people to attend games — broadcast only. And what’s it like to play a game without a crowd? (The Baltimore Orioles found out in 2015. Silent and weird.)

Bottom line, it’s not impossible the baseball season this year will be shortened, or very weird, or maybe even entirely cancelled. It all depends on what happens in the next month or so.

Wrap it up, gang. Spring Training is cancelled.

Most other sports, from high school on up, have ended, cancelled, or postponed, their seasons. Scheduled conferences are almost all being cancelled. Disneyland is closing. The list goes on.

I have a friend (Bentley’s mom) who works in the live theatre industry, and she’s seeing shows cancelled left and right, plus Broadway has gone dark. Lots of people are starting to fret about possible layoffs.

There is a hotel sub-industry involving small conference rooms in airport hotels. Air travel allows businesses to fly people into a random city for a quick face-to-face (which so many studies have shown is better), and they fly out that day (or spend just one night).

That industry is being hit hard right now (as is the airline industry), but there is some thought corporations will never do business that way again. Despite the perceived disadvantage, online conferencing may be the future. (It already was growing for economic reasons.)

Working from home, which was also on the rise for economic reasons, may also become much more the default. (I recall the fights I had with The Company over my working from home. I was ahead of my time there.)

Major epidemics can alter the course of a society, and it’s just possible (assuming we survive this mostly intact) COVID-19 will be something of a game-changer.

§

So we’re all being reminded to wash our hands while singing Happy Birthday. And to socially isolate (which many of us have been practicing for).

We’ll see what happens. Remember the Y2K and Ebola scares. They didn’t end up destroying society, but a large part of that was due to people taking it seriously and doing the work that needed to be done. There are signs we’re doing that now, although the current administration isn’t reacting as well as we might hope.

But one truth is that previous administrations and economic concerns have undercut the CDC and other agencies that we really need right now. We’re once again playing catch up.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

§

I feel especially sorry for Corona beer, which — believe it or not — has taken a sales hit because people, god love’m (’cause it’s hard for anyone else to), are associating the beer brand with the virus. [sigh]

Personally, I’m not a fan of the beer (although it’s tasty on a hot day), mostly because it comes in clear bottles, which means it’s usually light-struck (which makes it smell skunky). Buying it is always risky. (Likewise with an old favorite of mine, Newcastle Brown Ale.)

Anyway, it’s going to be weird for a while. As someone on the MLB channel said last night, “We’ll have to get used to not being used to stuff.”

Buckle in. Strange times ahead.

Stay isolated, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

10 responses to “No Baseball!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Never has my tendency to nest been so socially acceptable! 😀

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Here’s a virus-driven social change: Various ISPs are removing data caps due to people being asked to work from home. Most will likely follow.

    Remember the bad publicity Verizon suffered when it data-capped fire fighters out in California? Consider the publicity surrounding data-capping someone who was asked to work from home for public safety reasons.

    That data caps can be removed at will makes it clear they are just a device to suck money from consumers, so it’s quite possible COVID-19 will kill the data cap forever.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      A much bigger potential change might involve reviving local business and economies. Recently, I wrote about how beer brewing is a good local industry. Maybe a lot more local industry is just better all around. Doesn’t mean there can’t be a global economy, too, but maybe we need to focus a bit more on building up local strengths.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Airlines are flying empty planes to keep their departure/arrival “slots” — this has hit the airline industry especially hard. There is talk that this might be the end for Boeing, already suffering a difficult corporate future due to the problems surrounding their 777-MAX. One suspects Boeing, if it does exist, will be a very different company than it is now.

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    My university canceled classes until after Spring Break, then made the rest of the semester online. Our K-12 schools are now closed for a month. And our state delayed our primary election by two months. (Good thing that contest is mostly over.) Any event with more than 250 people is banned.

    Depending how long this lasts, I suspect it’s going to change a lot of things. The move toward online classes in higher education probably just made a decade of progress overnight. I hope the same is true for the work from home trend.

    Unfortunately, in addition to the health toll, it’s probably all going to be accompanied by a deep recession.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, and as my pension is, in part, tied to the market, that’s a definite concern.

      The one silver lining might be that this virus is what it takes to finally kills the trump presidency. I just read an article about invoking 25th Amendment if P45 gets sick. And about the potential for him to resist.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        The nice thing about the market is it always eventually comes back. But I fully understand that’s easy for me to say since my income isn’t directly tied to it, and much harder to live.

        I seriously doubt anyone will invoke the 25th, at least short of him being totally incapacitated. A recession might tilt the election enough for him to be defeated. If we have to have one, getting rid of Trump would definitely be a silver lining.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, the trouble with “eventually” is that lives can get crushed in the meantime.

        But it is true that the economy tanking takes away one of trump’s biggest bullet points.

  • Wyrd Smythe

    The “at least” part of the MLB declaration caught everyone’s eye, and it now looks like it’ll be longer, perhaps much longer, until the season starts.

    The MLB announced today that the season will be delayed at least eight weeks per CDC guidelines about meetings with more than 50 people.

    But there does seem a determination to play as many games as possible, so there is talk of the season running very late into the fall, even winter.

  • Wyrd Smythe

    2020 is the first year in 150 of them that Memorial Day did not feature professional baseball.

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