For a few hours last night, I forgot about all of the problems going on in the world as I breathed a sigh of relief that I could watch baseball again. Yes, it was weird watching a game played before an empty crowd surrounded by fake crowd noise, but it was comforting watching something that we were missing from our lives these last four months.
MLB has never canceled an entire season, and we waited in agony through the player/owner labor disputes, we all grew weary and wondered if a season this year would even happen. At one point Commissioner Rob Manfred said that there definitely would be a season and the following week he said he wasn't so sure. Confidence in the game was at an all-time low. I still believe the owners and players need to salvage the 2021 season in order for fans to fully come around, but having baseball back is nothing short of therapeutic.
As a White Sox fan, I have actually waited more than four months for this. I've waited all offseason for this when they filled in the team with Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnacion, Dallas Keuchel, Steve Cishek, Nomar Mazara, Gio Gonzalez, and resigned Abreu, and offered Robert a contract. But if you go even before that, Sox fans have been waiting for this moment since 2008, the last time we made the playoffs. Heck, we haven't had a winning season since 2012. That's a lot of waiting. So when it looked like the season was in jeopardy, all we could focus on was all the garbage going on in the world.
Seeing my White Sox put on a hitting clinic last night against their crosstown rivals was the best thing I've watched on TV since the pandemic started, and I've watched some quality television. I just hadn't realized how much I missed watching the Sox until they came back in action. Baseball offers a live drama that no other Netflix or Hulu show can match - a recurring season in a TV series that has spanned back since Aug. 26, 1939 (the first televised baseball game featuring the Reds and Dodgers at Ebbets Field).
Each season changes - some characters hang on longer than others, and some seasons disappoint us more than others, but we need to come back year after year to watch because the series is the best of all TV shows.
Watching the Sox score six runs off Kyle Hendrix and Jharel Cotton in the fifth sparked that wonderful bliss feeling that has been missing over the course of COVID-19. Seeing the Sox newcomers play made me yearn for opening day that much more. This will be quite an interesting season with the rule changes, the shortened season and with games being played only against the Central Division. Six of those games, or ten percent of the schedule, will come against the Cubs.
However this year plays out, it should be interesting to watch. And God, am I glad baseball is back. I just hope they don't ruin it with labor disputes in the near future again.