In eight days or so, baseball will be over, and either Dave Roberts will be redeemed and Clayton Kershaw restored to his place at or near the apex of his business, or people will be forced to learn the names of several Tampii. It will be the last real big-time diversion from the daily slog of football, and since today’s only permissible news is Tua Tagovailoa being promoted to starting quarterback in Miami as a reward for Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the team to two consecutive wins, you will find that the days to come will be cold, lonely, and wretched. It will seem like the world has been wiped clear of all life forms and replaced by a clone army of Adam Schefters, Ian Rapoports, Kyle Brandts, and Mike Florios striking us daily with news we can’t really use, and I think we can all agree that one of each is really all the planet can reasonably handle.
Football has been America’s planet-eating form of entertainment for decades now, but there has always been a diversion or two—three since international soccer became a thing here. But that’s shot since the NBA and NHL just finished 45 minutes ago, Adam Silver has coyly been moving the NBA restart closer to Easter than Christmas, and Gary Bettman has been talking about post–New Year’s as the NHL resumption date. The college basketball season is scheduled to start in late November, which while daft is the way of all college sports now, The Masters is still floating out there for a November go, and there will always be a steady stream of MMA events with a moderately sized but rabid following.
On the other hand, today was the day that the 2020–21 NBA season was supposed to start, and the ’21 NHL season would have already been two weeks and is now nervously scheduled for New Year’s Day.
No, this will be football’s time standing over a barren landscape of disappeared alternatives, and if football isn’t your thing, it looks like competitive quilting will have to be. Two months and change with only football and COVID-ravaged college basketball is not what our parents and grandparents fought two world wars to defend. Good Morning Football on a 24-hour loop on NFL Network is the equivalent of a war crime, and as for college basketball, even Jay Bilas at his most omnipresent would object to this.
In other words, savor this World Series. Feel for Kershaw as he fights the narrative that dances on his thorax. Root for Randy Arozarena as he tries to perfect his Mike Trout impersonation. Marvel at Mookie Betts making the Red Sox organization look like that of the Orioles. Hope Fox catches a few more mic’d-up players cursing like drunks in a tavern being forced to watch the debate on the TV behind the bar. Perch on the edge of your chair as Joe Buck contemplates the pregame flyover, especially if the roof in Arlington is closed. And revel in the pitching changes and strikeouts and home runs because there will be precious else.
But at least it won’t be football, and maybe if we all clear our plates and help with the dishes, the karmic forces that hold us in their grip will reward us by forcing Twix to rush out a 30-second spot between innings featuring Bob Ryan holding up a bar and saying, “I don’t know what this is and God knows what you’re supposed to do with it, but buy some.” It may not make baseball the national pastime again, but it sure beats any update about the Jets.
Then again, so does tertiary leprosy.