Mar 26, 2020 - Sports

Coronavirus cancels baseball's opening day

Empty stadium seats

Photo: Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Today should have been Opening Day, but like seemingly everything else in the world, those plans have been scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Football and basketball might be more popular sports, but the baseball season is perhaps the most engrained in American life, with the 162-game campaign providing a certain rhythm to the spring and summer months.

When Opening Day arrives, it appeals to all of the senses. For me, I remember playing catch with my dad and eating sunflower seeds in little league. I can almost smell the freshly cut grass at the ballpark and hear the organ music blaring.

But this year, instead of home runs and hot dogs, we have closed door meetings and negotiations, as the league tries to chart a path forward through the great unknown. Seven-inning doubleheaders anyone?

Photo of Richard Nixon at the 1969 Opening Day.
Photo: AP

Above: On April 7, 1969, Washington Senators manager Ted Williams (left) joined President Richard Nixon and Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn before POTUS tossed out the first pitch at RFK Stadium in Washington.

Timely quotes:

  • Pete Rose: "I'd walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball."
  • Hall of Famer Roger Hornsby: "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
  • Journalist Mike Barnicle: "That's one of the great gifts of this, the greatest of all games, baseball: it allows you, still, to lose yourself in a dream, to feel and remember a season of life when summer never seemed to die."

To fill the void: MLB is broadcasting 30 classic games across its various platforms today, including digital streaming and social media. Each team is featured in at least one game.

Go deeper: The last baseball players standing during the coronavirus shutdown

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