Opening Day will not take place (Or: Baseball in the Time of Coronavirus)

Opening Day will not take place in 2020.

Oh, sure, an opening day (uncapitalized) will take place. The Major League Baseball season will take place, and there will be a day where the first games take place.

No, I’m talking about Opening Day (capitalized), the holiday where the long winter is finally truly banished on a joyous late-March-or-early-April day full of ace-on-ace pitching matchups, red-white-and-blue bunting, and a sense of hope for everyone. Yes, even the Orioles… at least for a couple of innings.

That Opening Day will not take place. You know the reason, if you’ve paid any attention to the news. I won’t say it here right now for at this point it would be redundant. The reason why Opening Day won’t take place, especially in places like Japan or Korea.

Opening Day might not happen in San Jose, depending on how long the crisis lasts. The A-ball Giants don’t have their home opener until April 17, but given the scary projections from epidemiologists, we have no idea what the world may be like on that day.

It is entirely possible that in the coming days and weeks Seattle, New York City, or other great cities may have the same rules then as San Jose has imposed now. Perhaps those may come before opening day, definitively cancelling Opening Day in those cities.

Ultimately, though, Opening Day has already been cancelled. For even if the gates are open and the people can come, the feelings of the day have been lost this year. For instead of hope, optimism, and rebirth from the long winter, there will instead be worry and fear.

Questions will race: Can I shake the hand of the person in the seat next to me, who I haven’t seen since last season? Did the person selling the hot dog wash their hands correctly? Should that old-timer who has been coming to games for as long as anyone can remember even be here?

Yes, Opening Day is cancelled, and we can only fathom when the long winter will truly end.

Baseball and Softball will probably be at the 2020 Olympics

Guess what, folks? If a proposal passes next month, baseball and softball will be back in the Olympics, at least occasionally. The proposal, called Agenda 2020, is meant to try and solve some of the big problems facing the IOC, such as the fact that the increasing cost of hosting has made many global cities scared of hosting. For example, the 2022 Winter Games have had all but two candidates more-or-less drop out of the running because of local backlash. And the two candidates that are left are Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, who don’t have to care about public opinion and which are hardly the dropped-out winter wonderlands of Oslo or Stockholm that basically everybody outside of Kazakh and Chinese politicians would prefer.

The agenda includes, for example, allowing joint bids or at least allowing for certain events to be held elsewhere, perhaps even in other countries. But the big thing for baseball and softball in this is this part of the proposal, according to Reuters:

Sports will also not wait seven years from approval to their Olympic first appearance, and instead could be brought in for just one Olympics to maximize the Games’ reach and attraction.

 

In essence, it would allow sports to be added to the Olympics on a temporary basis if it would allow the Olympics to be more desirable in the host country. Now, presumably the sports added on temporary basis still would have to be pretty popular internationally (don’t go expecting to see NFL players marching in the opening ceremonies the next time the Olympics come to the USA, for example), but baseball and softball definitely fit the bill, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Committee has been heavily calling for them in 2020. So… expect baseball in the 2020 Olympics, and probably anytime in the future where the Olympics are in America, Japan, Korea, etc.