I shut everything down.
When things shut down around me in the past few days, I knew that mitigating a fast-spreading virus like COVID-19 would mean more than just shuttering all sports, museums, concerts, and big things.
It meant even little businesses like mine should shut down, too.
So, I closed my Yoga studio, cancelled my massage clients. And, here I sit.
Because, isn’t this what it means to “do your part”?
But, if the bars and restaurants and movie theaters are still open and people are still going, am I just wasting my time?
As I said to some of my clients, “I don’t want to see you on Monday and then have to call you on Wednesday and say, ‘Hey! Guess what I just tested positive for?’”
If closing is the right thing to do, why do I feel so terrible about this?
OK, that helped to say all that.
Now that you’ve kindly read through my “stress dump,” we, of course, need to get to the nut of things …
This virus has taken away baseball. It has taken away sports. It has taken away my “Happy Place.” Maybe your “Happy Place,” too.
I have no back-up “Happy Place.”
On Tuesday afternoon – playing hooky – I sat in the stands at the University of Virginia’s Davenport Field in our luxurious new season seats that look straight through home plate and right down the third-base line.
Freshman Max Cotier, on third and thinking about maybe, just maybe, stealing home. He didn’t steal, but he did score. (See, I told you … great seats!)
Virginia beat UMass-Lowell on Tuesday afternoon 24-5.
When it seemed clear that the game would be a major blow-out … and, you know, blow-outs and batting around in multiple innings can take some time (ultimately, three hours and 32 minutes) … we thought about leaving. It was getting late.
We didn’t leave.
I’m glad we didn’t.
It seems like a million years ago.
My heart breaks for all the student athletes who had their season pulled right out from under them just 48 hours later.
(My heart breaks, too, for all those college students around the country who, when classes were cancelled and they were told to go home, went straight to packing the bars. My heart breaks for them because, clearly, they’re going to need all the education they can get, and apparently not much has stuck so far.)Embed from Getty Images
In January 1942, Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote to ask President Roosevelt what to do about baseball.
In the midst of World War II – a war that demanded sacrifices from everyone – Landis asked if the season should be suspended.
Roosevelt responded the next day.
The next day. (I’m just astounded, because sometimes I don’t respond to emails and texts for a week, and I’m not a President trying to win a war in 1942. I’m just sitting here mitigating.)
In what we now call “The Green Light Letter,” Roosevelt told Landis to keep baseball going. Citizens, he wrote, “ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.”
It was a thoughtful response from a President with a lot on his mind.
And, baseball went on.
This is different, totally different. Games and crowds put people at risk – the players, the staff, the fans.
So, no baseball. No sports. That’s the right call.
But, I sure wish we had a little something to take our minds off of all this.
Oh. One more thing …
Many years ago when I worked in an office, our organization was planning to move to a new space. Everyone was excited to move to shiny new quarters with speedy magic cables that would hook us straight to the Internet! But, when it came to details – things would have to be sorted, and many things thrown away, and there would be sacrifices of desk space and cabinet space – people started getting a little testy.
So, the Human Resources director put a scrolling line on her computer’s screensaver:
There is no change without change.
I hope she’s reading this so she sees that I remember that line from more than 20 years ago. And, today I am updating it …
Don’t just wash your hands so you don’t get sick.
Stay put, so you don’t make someone else sick.
Baseball has a pretty slim track record lately of “doing the right thing.” But, they’re doing the right thing now. So, do your part, too.
There is no mitigation without mitigation.
Don’t you srltill have the game where you could pit ant team against the Orioles of Cuellar, Dobson, McNally and Palmer? Have ’em play rhe 2018 Red Sox. Seriously, baseball, pro, college and high school sports are doing the right thing…though it’s going to feel empty withour spring sports. Please, you and Editor/Husband stay safe, stay healthy.
I loved that game … MicroLeague Baseball … on those big old floppy disks! It had almost no graphics and came bundled with all the stats of legendary teams and then you could type in your own, so I always had the early 1990s Orioles playing the ’27 Yankees. They almost always lost. But, oh! those moments when Mike Mussina would strike out Babe Ruth! :)
Maybe we could spend our time researching some more baseball history and writing blog posts about it.
Well, hey! There’s an idea! Ok, I will if you will … :)
Haha, great thinking! I like where your head’s at! (:
That turned out to be excellent advice. In the past couple months I’ve written some fiction on here (not my comfort zone, but a good challenge) and an “Any Ol’ Game” non-fiction baseball series — three posts and counting — which scratches both my baseball and history nerd itch. Ken, the writer of the Off The Leash Blog, who wrote the original comment on this post has written a series on the history of the jukebox.
We found our sweet spots!
I wrote this poem that begins describing that very same incident. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share:
BASEBALL, OR THE MYTH OF THE ETERNAL RECURRENCE
Dear Ken, FDR wrote to Judge Landis
shortly after Pearl Harbor when it was
being decided whether major league games
should continue during the war,
America needs baseball as a recreational diversion for a nation
that will of necessity be working longer and harder than ever
before in the coming times.
My friend Rich, when I stood beside him
in his hospital bed during his last days,
echoed a similar sentiment,
asking me to talk about baseball
for a while. I knew, that despite having
the mathematical mind of the engineer
he was, it wasn’t the facts he normally
craved- standings, statistics, playoff probabilities
of each team (especially those of his beloved
Phils)- that he wanted, he had the newspaper
lying next to him for that.
I chose instead to talk about the beauty
of the game we loved beyond measure, its
history, the evolution of its
rules, some of the players we loved- Cobb, Wheat,
Ruth, Mathewson, Parker, Stargell, Omar
the Outmaker, Schmidt, Carlton, and Richie
(call me Dick) Allen, the fact that it had
brought us together, what we would do
after the final out was made, but more particularly
of the time Ferris Fain (of the other
Philadelphia team) went 5 for 5
against Vic Raschi for his team (including
a game-winning home run) in our
Strat-O-Matic baseball game.
Thank you for the diversion, he said,
looking up at me when I had finished.
I leaned over and kissed him good-bye.
Afterward, when asked by his wife to give
his eulogy, I declined. I couldn’t- wouldn’t-
discuss our friendship in front of strangers-
it was private, cherished, and ultimately ineffable.
I offer this elegy instead.
– for Richard Swiniuch (1952-2001)
Lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us!
Thank you. I’m glad you liked it :-)
What does this have to do with anything of the present time any thing
Getting tired of staying put, but that too will pass. Getting to know Bert a little too up close and personal.😁
Take care everyone!
Take care, Mayor Martha. We need you to stay healthy — for all our sakes!
Still have a complete set of 1971 American League Strat-O-Matic teams. When I was 14, I started playing the entire AL schedule, beginning with the AL West. I got about a week into April. Might be time to resume play.
You know, I’ve never played Strat-o-Matic … but, hearing people talk about with such enthusiasm makes me realize how much I missed out. Take good care, Austin!
I had lots of fun with that game. It’s statistically based and really teaches the strategy.
Well said. I will miss watching the college hockey playoffs. UND could well have won it all again this year, but cancelling is all for the greater good. Stay safe.
I know … I saw the pundits who said that the UND team was one of the best ever. I feel so badly for everyone affected, including the student-athletes.
On the “bright side,” I’ve told friends that the University of Virginia — who won the national basketball championship last year — is happen to carry its reign as national champion out for another year.
Take good care, Lisa … keep in touch!
There are so many teams is all sports that had a chance to write history but didn’t get the chance and it is sad to see their seasons end like this.
Take care, Precious … I hope the Royals and Orioles are back on the field at some point. (I’m starting to think there will be no season at all.)
I’m still holding out hope for a season, even an abbreviated one! At the very least, surely MLB will create a series of exhibition games for us, once we have the all clear. Surely….?
Jackie!! I know the mood around our house here on not-opening day is a little somber and reeks of let-down, but MLB Network and our local Brewers TV affiliate have provided a stab at reliving better days. I hope you soon feel and believe in better days, both on the diamond and off. I’m sorry you were forced to shut down your business. There is nothing I could say that will make it OK, but I hope knowing that you’re thought of fondly and with love and support helps, if even for a second.
Will there come a time when we won’t even remember what it was like to go to a baseball game — all squished up tight, fan against fan against fan, spilling our beers on each other? It seems so long ago already. Take good care, Wendy …
I, for one, will never forget what it’s like to be at the ballpark. At least that’s my sincere hope! I admit that I won’t miss the two-fisted sloppers (you have to hear that in the old County Stadium announcer voice!), but there’s always a buzz in the air at the ballpark, any ballpark. I can’t wait to feel that again, hopefully sooner than later. You too, Jackie, take good care.
Yes i am in 2020 batch and i can so relate this !
I hope you are safe ! Sending you love
Interesting perspective, thank you for sharing (:
It’s interesting seeing how people are impacted in vastly different ways.
And, it’s ever-evolving. I wrote this post two months ago. I have a very different perspective today. There has been bad. There has been not-so-bad. But, I guess it’s like that old adage … when the waves get too big, all you can do is learn to surf. I’m surfing more in life than I thought I could.
My heart broke when you said there’s no back up happy place! :( I feel that sometimes too. Anyway I was reading your comments when scrolling down to post mine and saw that one of them spoke about baseball history.
Maybe you could write about that right? Or about say commentators that really killed it that you liked or the greatest match in history and why you thought so, a list of your favourite players and why, list of the greats and where they are now. I haven’t visited your site as yet but just saying some off the top of my head :D I hope I could be of some help.
Thank you for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. I wrote this post in mid-March when the self-isolation and pandemic emergency was just taking off here and, like so many, I was bewildered and wondered how we would cope. As I discovered, humans have an amazing resiliency and adaptability. Now, as I sit here nearly three months later, still dealing with these things, this is still not my “happy place,” but it’s also not my “unhappy place.” It just is what it is.
And, as I think you’ve discovered, I’ve continued to write here … continuing to write baseball history … and am grateful for the time and opportunity to do that. Although I look forward to that moment when I can, once again, sit in the stands and watch a live baseball game, because that will always be my Happy Place. :)
I did read beyond that. I see you’ve picked up from there. I’m glad you’re not feeling as worse as you did before. It’s not the greatest thing to come to terms with this sudden harsh reality but it’s needed for a little sanity.
Things should start looking good soon ad you soon be in the stands, cheering on and having the time of your life, making up for lost time.
Have a wonderful day ahead :)
Very well said! It’s worth reading.
Thanks for your kind words! :)