Baseball’s Off To A Strong Start
2:51 PM EDT on April 1, 2021
The crack of the bat. The pop of a fastball into a catcher's mitt. The whoosh of wind swirling wet snowflakes through a sparsely filled ballpark. The sounds of baseball season have returned to soothe fans who have been clamoring for more ever since Justin Turner's season-ending COVID fuckup. Major League Baseball's second pandemic-age Opening Day is underway across the country, and it's off to a characteristically choppy start.
The news broke this morning that tonight's primetime game between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals would be postponed until at least Saturday, since the Nationals are going to be short at least five players and one staff member due to COVID protocols. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said on Thursday that one unnamed person tested positive, and ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that "there are concerns about at least one more positive COVID-19 test." The player tested positive on Monday while the Nats were still at their spring training site in Florida, and contact tracing rules dictate that the four players and one staff member who had close contact with the player must be kept apart from the team until more testing is done. Francisco Lindor's hotly anticipated Mets debut will have to wait.
Over in the AL East, rain in Boston has caused the Red Sox to push their opener against the Orioles back one day. Mostly, I feel bad for this guy.
A couple of AL Central teams had weather issues of their own in Detroit, but they were determined to push through. According to Defector's Michigan bureau, "it’s been 70 degrees all week," though right now, Cleveland and the Tigers are playing through a beautiful little snowstorm. Miguel Cabrera smacked the first dinger of the season, though the storm cut visibility to the point that a confused Cabrera slid into second base, only to be told that he'd sent one past the fence. Weird start! This video, however, rocks.
To cap off a day of sloppiness and nonstop baseball, ESPN will broadcast the Oakland Athletics nationally, at 10 p.m. ET. It's what the nation deserves.