Sports in 2020: An absolute pain in the asterisk

Based on his first two starts of the season, Indians ace Shane Bieber should win the Cy Young Award. Think about it: 27 K's in two starts? That's the equivalent of striking out every batter for an entire game. And don't tell me my Cy Young prediction after seven games is premature. Simply because, my friends, seven games – this year – is 11.67% of the schedule. Conversely, in a normal 162-game schedule, 11.67% of the schedule would be 19 games played, with 143 to go. This year, seven games played means we have a whole 53 games to go.

That's right ... we're in the stretch run, baby!

The point of all this nonsensical babble is that – in case you hadn't noticed – 2020 is the year of the "new normal," which right now is anything but. It's more like the year of the abnormal. I mean, what's good for us today might be bad for us in a couple of weeks. We're creatures of habit, and these days it seems that most of what were considered good habits are now ... not so much. (Hopefully that doesn't include reading this column). But think about how much has changed:

A warm, friendly handshake? What are you, some kind of psycho? Now I have to sanitize and self-quarantine for the next half hour. 

A loving hug? One step closer, pal, and I swear I'll mace you into the next zip code!

Seriously: baseball games with cardboard cut-outs of fans in the stands? Dubbed crowd noise? I don't know about you, but the canned cheering track reminds me of the canned laughter common in the TV shows from the '60s and '70s. Are we watching Indians baseball or "Gilligan's Island"?

Speaking of laughter, you know how this is going to play out, don't you? Of course you do. The Indians will ride this wave (actually, given the abbreviated length of the season, "ripple" would be better suited as a descriptor) of pitching excellence all the way to a World Series title. Unfortunately, the victory "parade" will consist of everyone tuning in to watch Tribe players celebrate (being mindful of social distancing) on Zoom. (I'm already getting all emotional merely thinking about it). Maybe they'll even have cardboard cutouts of fans lining East 9th. Now I'm getting goosebumps ... bet you are too.

Not to be outdone, it follows that the Browns will also pick this year to celebrate the city's first NFL championship since 1964. Too bad only a very few fans will be lucky enough to witness the season in person. The early rumors have the crowds from 10-20% of "normal" (there's that word again) capacity, so most of us will be relegated to watching it on the tube.

Tailgating? Not at Browns games, pal. The only tailgating you'll experience is the joker in the Saturn who rides your back bumper from Crocker to East 22nd on your way to work every morning this fall. Bank on it.

So the Tribe and Browns will both go all the way in the year of the aberration, otherwise known as the year of the asterisk.

Can't wait, can you? (Cue the canned applause).

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.04.2020