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Fingers Crossed

Are you ready for some baseball?

Well, are ya?

Let’s cross our fingers and hope baseball is ready for itself. Baseball can declare all the intentions it wants. It still has to check in with the coronavirus [1] pretty regularly to make sure it gets to proceed as it intends.

Until we find out otherwise, it is on. Baseball, that is [2]. It’s on the calendar for the first time since the middle of March. Circle all the dates you like. Unseasonable Spring Training commences on or about July 3. The short season — shorter than those to which we are accustomed [3], longer than anything we’ve had in 2020 — gets going in the July 23-24 range. Sixty games are plotted through September 27. Then everybody and their uncles, aunts and cousins will be invited to the most darn inclusive postseason jamboree you ever did see.

[4]

Now, where were we?

Unless the coronavirus gets loose in big league clubhouses and environs and then…ah, let’s convince ourselves to be optimistic. The Mets will play baseball. Their opponents, all nine of them, will play baseball. Four other divisions’ worth of ballclubs will, too. True, the “universal DH” is a pox and it should be vaccinated against (can we be realigned to another universe, please?), and this cockamamie idea to start extra innings with a runner on second has already been labeled cockamamie within this sentence. Nobody will be in the stands by design, so there go the letter and spirit of our team song. The only meeting the Mets we’ll be doing will be through the magic of video and audio, fortunately narrated to us by the best sets of announcers in the business. Crowd shots will be lacking, but the cameras should be able to pretty easily pick out the players.

The original Opening Day for 2020 was scheduled for about three months ago. It went by as just another day. It was weird. The next days without baseball were a little less weird. Except for experiencing a phantom pang now and then that something that should have been going on wasn’t, I can’t exactly say I missed baseball the way a lifetime’s passion indicated I would.

There was (and is) a pandemic. There was (and is) social injustice. There was (and is) a sense that half-baked baseball wasn’t (and isn’t) going to make everything better. Baseball didn’t walk out on the world. The world turned unamenable to meeting/greeting the Mets and anybody else who gets within six feet of you without a mask.

But it is summer; and there is an agreed-upon scheme, which has been upgraded to a theoretically workable plan; and those players whose every move we monitor as closely as possible from a distance seem determined and enthusiastic [5] to play; and what are we, anyway — made of stone?

No, we’re made of Mets [6]. Time to replenish our natural fiber. Safely, of course.