A part of us has been missing.
The cold of winter always brings hibernation to the baseball soul. Then, as short, dark days stretch into bristling spring with mornings that bloom into warm summer nights, we thaw out to the sounds of cracking bats and popping gloves and roaring crowds.
After a brief hint of a taste of that normalcy, the world was suddenly upended, forced back into hibernation and, for the first time in most of our lives, the heat wave came without our beloved boys of summer.
No cracking bats. No popping gloves. No roaring crowds.
The silence was deafening.
In its place arose an ugly quagmire of bitterness and mass anxiety about whether our game had been fatally wounded by pettiness and greed.
Today, Opening Day, none of that matters. The world can collectively come together for a moment and watch baseball.
The sounds are back. The boys are back. The game is back.
Sure, it’s going to look and feel… pretty weird.
In addition to a marathon-by-nature sport being turned into a sprint, we’ve got new rules and procedures with which we need to familiarize. We’re all going to have to adjust to empty stadiums and faux crowd noise and social distance high-fives and much less spitting.
And yes, the future of the game still needs some tending.
That part of us that has been missing since last October? It’s back.
This also means the beauty of baseball is back. We don’t know what will happen, maybe now more than ever. Will the traditional powerhouses remain so now that their depth and supreme resources mean less? Will more middle-of-the-pack teams with a ton to prove – like maybe your Colorado Rockies – shock the world and win the Quest for the Asterisk?
Whose career is coming to a close? Who is about to break out in a way nobody could have expected? Who will show the 150-year-old game something it has never seen before?
We can’t say for sure. What we do know is what we’ve always known.
They will throw the ball, they will catch the ball, they will hit the ball, they will run the bases, they will dive in the dirt, they will slide in the grass, they will knock at their cleats, they will take to the skies, they will lean on each other, they will commit errors, they will sacrifice, they will all succeed, and they will all fail.
They will play baseball today. We are whole again.