What did we talk about before covid became all we talked about?
If there were no vaccine waiting lists to talk about … or rumors of covid outbreaks in the next town over … or side-eye mentions of unmasked neighbors … or whining about all the things that are still closed … what, exactly, did we talk about?
I don’t remember.
Even when we’re not talking about covid, we’re talking about covid.
Which brings me to baseball.
On March 13, 2021, Editor/Husband and I – double-masked and with a fresh bottle of hand-sanitizer in my bag – carefully inched our way back to baseball.
It had been 368 days since we had last sat outside … scorecard open … game unfolding.
But, then … yesterday happened.
Things are not normal yet. But there is just a glimmer of a kinda-sorta-almost normal’ish life out there.
I don’t suppose you’re all that interested in how the Virginia Cavaliers were trounced 12-4 by Notre Dame yesterday.
Good. Because, I have more important things to cover.
1) Socially Distanced And Masked Means … Socially Distanced And Masked, People.
The University of Virginia is slowly, slowly letting people dribble back in to baseball. And, yesterday, we got to be part of the dribble. Where you sit is assigned and clearly marked (and if one should sit outside their approved “safe seats” an usher will politely assist in proper re-seating). Masks, always. Hand sanitizer stations everywhere.
We had an entire row to ourselves … no one directly in front, no one directly behind. No one nearby. It was luxurious.
Obligatory Faux Fans
And, players masked up, too.
Even A Double Mask
2) This Was Not A Good Day For Virginia Baseball.
Unless, like me, you were so hungry for a game … any game, no matter how bad … you could overlook the final score. 12-to-4. I think I mentioned that already.
Notre Dame is a good team. Virginia’s not. Not yet.
Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor blamed himself after the game, saying he’s done “a horrible job, candidly, of preparing the team. … It’s not the player’s fault, it’s my fault.”
Sure, Virginia is off to a shaky start, but what if it wasn’t all his fault?
Because, look …
All-green Notre Dame unis? From the tops of their caps to the hems of their pants … all green. Was it sneaky camouflage, so they could blend in with the grass … where Virginia players couldn’t see them? That might explain things.
And, check out Notre Dame’s shiny pot-o-gold batting helmets.
They looked a little fake, actually – like Notre Dame bought them in the party aisle of a dollar store. Still, maybe the glare from those shiny helmets blinded Virginia pitchers. Maybe that’s what happened.
All was not that horrible. A three-run inning for the Hoos allowed them to tie the game in the fourth. And, starting pitcher Griff McGarry struck out seven in his 3.2 innings.
McGarry Struck Out Seven, Including Six In A Row
Things went south from there. But, the early going was fun.
3) The Return Of The Bambino
#3? In Pinstripes? Could It Be???
The Original #3 In Pinstripes, circa 1929
Today’s pinstriped #3 is Virginia first-year Kyle Teel. As Designated Hitter, Teel went 0-for-3 yesterday. Hardly Ruthian. (There was no DH in Ruth’s day, so 0-for-3 is no surprise.)
Look, I don’t want to put any pressure on Kyle Teel. But, after that 0-for-3 start, something really strange happened that I think you should know about. When Virginia’s catcher was lifted for a pinch hitter in the 8th, Teel moved from DH to catcher.
Fun Fact – you know who else was once a catcher, right?
Babe Ruth (back row, center) Holding Catcher’s Gear While Playing At St. Mary’s Industrial School For Boys In Baltimore
So, when now-catcher Kyle Teel — #3 in pinstripes – came to bat in the bottom of the 9th, you know what happened, right?
Of course you do.
Was it a fluke? The magic of the pinstripes? Some Babe Ruth mojo that only I could see?
Well, as I was writing this today, Kyle Teel, no longer in pinstripes, but in his orange Virginia jersey … did it again …
Here’s Your Baseball Bloggess Recap: The Virginia Cavaliers were swept by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, losing all three games of this weekend’s series. But, I sat outside for one of those games — my first in 368 days. It was 61 degrees and the game took 3 hours and 11 minutes.
Every minute of it was wonderful.
Photos: © The Baseball Bloggess. Davenport Field At Disharoon Park, Charlottesville, Virginia, 3/13/2021