The first message I received this morning was from my dear friend Mat Smart. He was wishing Adam Knight and I “Happy Opening Day!”
Or a “Happy Not Opening Day” to be more specific.
The message stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t believe it. I went to ESPN to double check and he was right. Today was the day. Or was supposed to be. There was an article about it and everything. A “Not Opening Day Power Ranking” of all the teams in the league.
Normally I would have been all over this. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love baseball. Well, they know how much I love the Cubs. And for the past few seasons, ever since the Cubs won the World Series, Jaimie has been allowing me to make a big deal out of Opening Day. She’s let me make Chicago style hotdogs and chicken nachos. She’s been letting me buy her bottles of sparking wine and all the stuff to make ice cream sundaes. Basically Jaimie’s been letting me bribe her with food so I can watch baseball. I get it now. I see what’s been happening.
As I’ve gone through today, the fact that baseball isn’t opening, and that it won’t be opening anytime soon, has really stuck with me. Because it’s baseball. Baseball never gets canceled. They made a movie about it and everything. It stared Tom Hanks and Madonna, freaking Madonna, about how even during a World War Americans still got their baseball. Yet here we are, Opening Day, and not a game in sight.
But as I listen to Jaimie figure out how to engage with patrons of the Children’s Museum, and as I talk with Adam about how he can create plays for no audience. As I lie here and figure out how the heck I can sell books and tell stories and connect with people in this new paradigm where no one can leave the house, I’ll be damned if sports thinks they are going to be let off the hook!
This could be so awesome. I love the idea of basketball games being played in an empty arena. Can’t you just hear the loud squeaks of the tennis shoes?I’m desperate to hear all the players on microphones, talking non-stop smack to one another. Forget the cheering and the sound track of the arena. That’ what I a dying to hear!
Or a baseball game with no one in the stands? How loud would the wood in the ball sound? How crips the slap of the leather. The players daring each other to steal signs in a variety of languages. Hearing them shout shit at each other in real time. That’s way better than an organist and vendors yelling about peanuts.
I want to see behind the veil. Maybe that’s what social distancing is teaching me. I want to see the humans behind the talents, the people behind the achievements. I want closer, not further. ESPN with a side of CSPAN.
Not that it will ever happen. But if opening day is for anything, it’s for hope. It’s for dreams. And this is my dream. For baseball at least. And maybe just for a game or two.
So happy opening day. And to our hope and dreams and plans getting back on track as quickly, and most importantly as safely, as possible.