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All’s quiet on every front, not just the western

By Staff | Apr 24, 2020

Randy Johnson pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks in this photo taken on Aug. 27, 2008. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Robins bob along, after their worms and mostly undisturbed by people chasing spring.

Infields are not manicured, or outfields mowed or bleachers filled with banter, laughter and young people having fun in the warming temperatures.

Familiar sounds of baseballs thumping into catcher’s mitts and being driven off the bats of budding sluggers are now silenced.

People don’t gather. Umpires don’t get abused. Concession stands aren’t selling their snow cones or red hots or nachos or fresh popped popcorn.

Folding chairs are still covered in garages or attics. Children don’t dance around or chase each other behind the press box; instead, they are at home after a distance-learning session on Zoom with their regular teachers.

Nobody asks, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?”

“Put Me In Coach” or “I Can Be Center Field” will just have to wait for another time.

Baseball — the one-time National Pastime — is on hiatus. No games. In fact, no practices and no timetable for the next round of the game.

Children are waxing nostalgic over movies like “The Sandlot” or the “Bad News Bears” if they are thinking of baseball at all.

Keeping the proper social distancing hasn’t been a problem. Wearing a face mask to keep coronavirus droplets from being sprayed between the shortstop and second baseman has been easy enough, because the middle of the infield is empty of players.

In late April there are no Minor League games and no Major League games. Where has the college baseball season gone? The pleasure-giving College World Series in Omaha has been canceled, like a left-handed batter trying to hit against timber-tall Randy Johnson.

If the coronavirus has its way, all 42 of those minor league franchises will become only memories as stadium turnstiles gather dust or rust instead of counting fannies that file through to the seats.

When will the announcer again intone “Now batting, number seven, Mickey Mantle, center field, number seven?” When will the vendors toss bags of peanuts to the fans or call out “Hot dogs here; get your red hots here?”

Lineups and scorecards are put away. Team yearbooks will stay wrapped tightly in clear plastic.

The youth dugouts won’t hear the sometimes chaotic “Batter, Batter, Batter” chant. The dandelions will grow unchallenged by a tee-ball outfielder. No drawings in the infield sand/dirt will be created by a six-year-old ready for a post-game trip to the ice cream stand.

Is this an April Fool prank? Or is it the “new normal” that television people have branded these times? Only the robins seem to like the more carefree times they are seeing.

Bring back the games, bring back our age-old version of what spring is supposed to be like.