Thursday would have been an unofficial national holiday. One filled with hot dogs and burgers on the grill. A few cold beverages with your friends at the ballpark. And an umpire yelling, “Play ball.”
But not this year. The start of Major League Baseball was supposed to be Thursday with the Braves beginning their 2020 season out west in Arizona.
But instead of playing the Diamondbacks, the Braves are at home with the season delayed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some Braves players, like Freddie Freeman, are playing backyard baseball with their kids. Others are playing video games and trying to stay in shape. The team broadcasters are also dealing with the pause in baseball.
“This is such a strange day in so many respects," Braves play-by-play broadcaster Chip Caray told Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein.
"But I keep going back to what Fay Vincent, former MLB commissioner, said. Our silly little game is so unimportant when you factor in the big picture with what’s going on in our country and the world.”
Caray, whose father Skip and grandfather Harry called games for Braves and Cubs, is entering his 11th season in the TV booth for the Braves. Like Braves fans, Caray was excited to see the 2020 team on the field knowing they have the team make-up to go deep in the playoffs and win a World Series.
While there is no set date, Caray said he has no reason to think the season won’t be back.
“Baseball is such a fabric of our national being. That’s why I think we will be back. It will be a little different. It will be a little hectic. But I think everyone understands there’s a far bigger picture here than our own wants and needs."
“We’re going to come out of this bigger, better, stronger and safer we hope than ever before," he said.
Caray told Klein he is encouraged by the talks between the players, owners and unions. Once the sport returns, he thinks baseball will be better.
“The great thing about baseball, perhaps its greatest asset, is to bring people together and be a healing force. When that true Opening Day 2020 comes, it will be a cause for celebration everywhere,” he said.
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