Sing Along: Take me out to the ball game, and tell me, what is a 'crowd'?
The last time we met, I think we talked about how the "sellout" crowd of 2020 or '21 will look far different than the sellouts of way back in, oh, say, 2019. We focused on how different things will be for Joe Fan when things return to quasi-normal. What we didn't cover (ostensibly due to lack of column space, but more accurately due to my lack of writing talent), was how all of this coronavirus stuff was going to impact the game itself. And will it ever, baby ...
Just apply today's social distancing rules to a Major League Baseball game when(ever) it returns to the corner of East 9th and Carnegie. I mean, ballplayers will have to live by the same rules the rest of us have to, right? Coronavirus is indifferent to dollar signs, right? That being the case, let's look at some of baseball's "norms" and how they soon will devolve into "abnorms":
1.) Dugouts: Hmmmmm. This year, baseball allowed the roster to expand to 26 players. With the coaches, trainers, clubhouse attendants, team physicians, and, oh yes, the players, all maintaining a minimum of 6 feet separation I calculated the Indians dugout starting right behind home plate and stretching to, well, to somewhere close to Lakeside, near City Hall. Lest we forget, we have the visitors' dugout too, which I estimate will also begin somewhere behind home plate and stretch eastward until it hits close to I-77. Heck, that might even be a new zip code. All I know is I'd hate to be the guy on the very end of the bench who realizes he has to make a quick dash to the restroom.
2.) Speaking of I-77, it's right around there that the end of the line for the folks trying to enter Progressive Field will be after it's stretched out due to social distancing. On a good night, the folks at the end of that line might be able to talk baseball with the folks from the line for the Lake County Captains game. Wouldn't it be ironic if you made new friends while practicing social distancing?
Wouldn't it even be more special if you caught the coronavirus while practicing social distancing? Steven Spielberg might even turn it into a box office hit (assuming movie theaters still exist, of course) and make a boatload of money for all of your survivors. (Sorry, the only way it will be a box office winner is if you die after a lengthy battle with the novel (which I'm pretty sure is the book form of the) coronavirus.
3.) But the thing that will threaten the very existence of America's pastime is this: Every time the pitcher throws a pitch, time will be called immediately so the pitcher and catcher can sanitize their hands. Every time a ball is hit and fielded by a position player, after the play has ended, guess what? That's right: sanitize, baby, sanitize. What about those plays where there's a couple of cut-off men on a long hit, and a play at the plate and like six different people touch the ball? All of those guys will have to sanitize. You'll have time to do your taxes while waiting for play to resume.
And don't even think about NOT sanitizing because Big Brother (or in this case, Dr. Amy Acton) will be watching and you will SO be in trouble. She'll be in full hazmat garb and will have no problem subjecting offending parties to a full sanitation hose-down if necessary.
I now estimate the time for a typical game will be 11 hours and 41 minutes.
The good news? If you're running a little (2 or 3 hours) late in getting to the ballpark, you won't miss much action.
Can't wait for them to start back up again, now can you?
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!