COVID-19 Claims Another Victim in Lancaster – Barnstormers’ Opening Day
Thanks Virus. Why Can't We Have Nice Things?
We all want this virus and the public shutdown it has caused to be over, for any number of good reasons. We care about the health of our families and friends. We want to get back to work, and back outside. We need an end to the national nightmare that is the plague of nurse TikTok videos.
All of that is good and proper. But for me, it’s because of baseball. Next Friday should have been opening day for the Lancaster Barnstormers, but it’s not happening.
Yes, I said baseball. And yes, I get to be upset by this.
It’s my favorite sport. It’s the only sport, I’d argue. I’ve coached it and played it and there’s nothing better than being in the stands for a Saturday afternoon game with a hot dog and a cold beer.
I road past the Lancaster Barnstormers stadium yesterday, and there is nothing quite as wistful as an empty baseball diamond.
As if the virus is rubbing salt in the wound, the hospital is using the stadium parking lot for a COVID-19 testing tent facility.
MLB is pushed back until at least late May. Minor league teams may not play at all, which is an incredible strain on those players and the smaller stadiums around the country.
The Barnstormers aren’t part of MLB, of course, but rather the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The 2020 season was supposed to run to 126 games beginning next week, on April 30. The Barnstormers season opener was supposed to be an away game on May 1 with the home opener May 8.
But, like MLB, the season has been postponed indefinitely. Atlantic League President Rick White says there’s no word yet on when the ALPB season will kick off, but I’ll keep you posted here.
Yes, in the big scheme of things, maybe this isn’t major. But I was really looking forward to my first War of the Roses game.
It’s heartbreaking for baseball fans, especially since baseball has gotten Americans through the darkest times.
Through world wars and natural disasters, baseball has always been there.
Through the worst of times in American history, baseball always endured. They played the 2001 World Series a mere month after the World Trade Center terrorist attack. They played through the wars and through civil unrest.
Baseball has had health-related scares – swine flu, staph outbreaks – but nothing approaching this level of disruption.
We all want this to be over for our prosperity and our health.
But I won’t feel like things are normal again until I’m watching my first Barnstormers game.
First round of hot dogs is on me.