Since last Thursday, every baseball fan took at least a little bit of joy at the sport’s return — even without fans in the stands, even with giant cut-outs at Citi Field, or computer-generated images of fans in the stands. Up until this morning, the prospects for the return of professional basketball and hockey looked pretty good. The NBA season is scheduled to resume Thursday at 6:30 p.m. EST with a game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, while the National Hockey League is scheduled to restart play Saturday at noon in Toronto, with a matchup between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers.
But this morning, Major League Baseball confronted its first serious challenges from the coronavirus. The Miami Marlins’ home opener against the Baltimore Orioles scheduled for tonight is postponed, as “eight more players and two coaches with the Marlins have tested positive for the coronavirus,” and reportedly tonight’s New York Yankees–Philadelphia Phillies game is also postponed — the Marlins just completed a three-game series against the Phillies.
Five days into the season, a team has a significant chunk of the roster infected and needing to quarantine for an extended period of time — during a regular season that will be just 60 games! This morning, one of the sports talk hosts on WTEM in Washington observed that we should enjoy every baseball game in 2020 like it’s a gift — because we never know when the pandemic might temporarily take away the games again.