Inauguration day, finally.
A baseball season that was previously on the verge as the virus outbreak begins on Thursday night when excitable Max Shazer and World Series champions Washington Nations play host to prized Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees.
When it ends – DC forecast calls for thunderclap, the latest rocky innings in this what-go-wrong game – it will mark the most bizarre year in the history of Major League Baseball.
60-game season, selection of stars. Ballpark without fans, players wearing masks. Piped-in sound effects, cardboard cutout for the audience. Spray painted advertisements on the mound, pitched with individual Rossin bags.
And a rack of weird rules. DH in the National League, okay. An automatic runner on second to start the 10th inning? Come on, now.
“Gosh, it’s going to be fun,” Cole said. “It’s fake crowd noise, and 2020 is going to be coronovirus baseball.”
Also, a touching reminder of the world in which we live. A Black Lives Matter stencil can be placed on a large mound during the opening weekend.
And there is still a team that does not know where she is going to play – barred from Toronto due to health concerns, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Blue Jayce expected to move to Pittsburgh or Baltimore or Buffalo or elsewhere.
“It’s 2020 baseball,” Scherzer said.
For many fans, it will be. No other option, really. Four months after the game started, odd ball is better than no ball, right?
we will see.
Opening Day brings a tasty doublerider: a marquee pitching matchup in Washington, followed by a night game at Dodger Stadium when star outfielder Mookie Bates, a freshman $ 365 million contract, a 12-year contract, and his new Los Angeles teammates San Francisco take on the Giants.
One player the Dodgers will not face is Ace Clayton Kershaw: six-time All-Star, three-time champion and former MVP Buster Posey. The Giant catcher and his wife have adopted twin identical girls who were born prematurely, and are among about a dozen players who have chosen to sit out this year.
“From a baseball standpoint, it was a difficult decision for me,” Posey said. “From a family point of view, children, making a decision to protect our children, it was relatively easy.”
Dodgers pitcher David Price, Washington infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Atlanta outfitter Nick Markakis also sit outside.
Other players won’t be ready until the weekend – on Wednesday, the Royals announced Hunter Dozier (26 home runs, 10 trials), who tested positive for the virus and was being put on the injured list.
For those who are healthy, it’s time to play. For how long, with the virus, we’ll soon find out.
Something will be done from the first pitch, in which how many teams will make it to the playoffs. A decision is due when there is a conversation about expanding the postseason area afresh.
Tossing the first ball at Nationals Park to start a closed schedule by COVID-19, the country’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci will have.
“I used to play baseball as a young boy,” 79-year-old Fauci told CNN. “I hope I don’t bounce it too much.”
Don’t worry, Doctor. Even before the first pitch, this season has already handled a lot of bad hops.
“I think it will be emotional for fans who are huge fans of each team, but I think it will be emotional for sports fans able to see baseball return,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Elsewhere around the grounds this year:
MLB players were not as vocal on social issues as those in the NFL and NBA. Until this year, former Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell was the only baseball player to kneel before the national anthem – he did so in 2017 and felt it gave him a future spot in the Major.
New Giants manager Gabe Kapler and several of his players performed during the national anthem before an exhibition game this week. A group of Reds did the same in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I wanted them to know that I was not happy with the way our country handled police brutality and I told them that I wanted to raise their voice and I also wanted to raise the voice of the black community and marginalized communities Was. ” Kapler among 10 managers starting a new job.
Yankees star Aaron Judge said: “This is the beauty of America, freedom of expression and freedom to express myself.”
“We got a special platform to be an athlete and to speak our mind and talk about what is happening in this world. Some people express it online. Some people express it with words. Some people have succumbed, ”he said.
MLB players can apply a patch with “Black Lives Matter” or “United for Change” on the jersey sleeve during Opening Day.
Didi Gregorius and Clint Frazier participated in exhibition games, while wearing a mask is not mandatory on the field, but many other rules and guidelines apply.
Social Distinction in the Dugout. Leave the ball bouncing around the infilt after the strike. Keep Philly Phonetic and Mascots off the field.
There is also no high-five. No problem, Phillies slugger Bryce Harper said.
He said, I think the Air High-Five will be the most awesome thing in baseball this year and the best thing in the game.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of protocols to keep players in mind who have been working in the same way since they were children.
“Will it be right on day one?” Said Bob Melvin, a manager. “Probably not.”
Heard all those hoots and hisses at Houston Astro March, they are gone now. Some fans will claim that those who participated in that sign-theft scam did not feel the outbreak of the crowd on the street.
The MLB has issued a strict warning against any base this year. Still, some Houston hitters may feel a bit vengeful – Jose Altuve, Alex Bragman and George Springer all hit the pitches Tuesday night in Kansas City during the Astros’ final tuneup.
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