When The Best And The Worst Intersect

Baseball has been my favorite sport from as far back as I can remember. In fact one of my earliest memories (admittedly somewhat foggy) was watching Don Larsen pitch his perfect game in the 1956 World Series on a black and white TV. It’s a sunny and hot Monday morning in Wake Forest, North Carolina as I pen this article and I’m also basking in the glow of my Tampa Bay Rays being in first place in the American League East (albeit part of a three way tie) with a record of 2-1. Major league baseball is back for the moment; that’s the good news. Unfortunately there is also bad news. Let’s explore.

With the abbreviated 60 game season only three games old there are many somewhat mysterious additions to the injured lists (under the new format I’m not certain what the proper nomenclature is). As I read this morning’s newspapers the beginning of my fears were reinforced. The Washington Post had an article entitled, Coronavirus outbreak delays Marlins return to Miami. The Miami Marlins had played the Phillies in Philadelphia and at least three players have tested positive for the virus delaying their return to Miami.

I have a concern as to whether MLB will be able to complete even the abbreviated season (let alone an expanded post-season). Despite each team effectively having a 60 man roster will they be able to keep enough players healthy? I don’t want to see meaningful games played with bartenders and busboys toeing the rubber and stepping into the batters’ box.

America has by far done the worst job of any advanced country in combating the pandemic and if anything the situation is getting worse. Perhaps one of the best examples of that is that the Toronto Blue Jays are effectively the Buffalo Blue Jays with the Canadian government prohibiting them from playing home games in Toronto. They simply feel it is too dangerous to allow the Blue Jays and the other teams on their schedule to repeatedly cross the border. You see Canada has a much better lid on the virus.

Even now the quality of the “product” is substandard. I had the opportunity to watch most of the Rays’ first three games and it is obvious that most of the players are in mid-spring training form certainly not regular season form.

Here is where the intersection of the good and the bad become laughable. President Trump was supposed to throw out the first ball for the Yankee’s August 15th game. Sunday he sent the following tweet, “Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduling meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th. We will make it later in the season!” Please note the italicized portion is a direct quote and I bear no responsibility for the lies, racial slurs or “grammar”.

I think Trump’s cancellation may have a lot more to do with the majority of MLB players taking a knee during the national anthem to express their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Trump has little else to fear since the games are being played sans fans. Yankee fans are not exactly noted for their manners and I must admit there is a part of me that would love to see 50,000+ fans stand up and boo Trump as he took the mound in “The Big Ballpark”.

As an aside I have to wonder when the British press will start referring to Trump as the Twit-in-Chief.

I hope I’m wrong and the baseball season can proceed. At least for the moment go Rays!

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