The prospective return of baseball gives new meaning to the opening stanza of Casey at the Bat. The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day: The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play, And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same, A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game… When Ernest Lawrence Thayer wrote those words, the dying was intended to be metaphorical. In the age of Covid-19, that potential outcome is all too real. The plan in progress is “nothing that has been attempted in the history of American sport, less a baseball season than a military-style operation in which any number of variables could derail the plan, or, worse, contribute to the spread of the deadly disease.” How MLB is navigating the coronavirus pandemic to play ball. The Trump administration “has privately exhorted the players to serve as ‘the pied piper’ to ‘bring the country back,’ a union source told ESPN. But guidance from the White House on the return of sports has been ‘confusing’ and, at times, in conflict with the advice of public health experts.” (Some days I wish we could get the Fyre Festival organizers to take over our pandemic response). Let’s hope things go better for America than Mudville: And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.