Scores of baseball fans had set to take today off from work, they just had different plans in store for the day.
MLB had originally set Thursday, March 26, as its Opening Day, when each of the league’s 30 teams were to play the first of their respective 162 games. Those games, however, have been postponed in light of the country’s effort to “flatten the curve” of the present novel coronavirus pandemic.
Steve Rayburn canceled plans to travel west to watch the Mariners host the Red Sox on April break with his two kids. He’s now locked down conducting business from his Loudonville home.
On any given Opening Day, Rayburn sets aside the day to watch games from noon until late at night. He always represents his beloved New York Mets with the choice of two jerseys. Today, he’s wearing his home whites, a Dwight Gooden throwback from 1986. The Mets were to match up against the Washington Nationals in Flushing today.
“It’s kind of the official ‘you’ve made it through winter’ sign and promise that better days are coming,” he said. “Unless, of course, you are a Mets fan.”
Today’s current events are a scary reminder of the 1918 flu pandemic, which is estimated to have killed between 50 and 100 million people globally while infected approximately one-third of the world’s population. The shadows of that pandemic continue to stretch across the landscape, as people attempt their best to practice social distancing — a concept credited to the St. Louis community’s response to the flu a century ago.
Fans of the national pastime have limited options with the current stoppage, but there’s a possible respite from their malaise in Cooperstown.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame has kept an extensive website in recent years, providing its visitors with continuous news and features relating to the game and exhibits at the museum. Though the museum is closed, too, its online experience is just as rewarding.
The Hall of Fame features several of its amenities on its website in the effort to spark interest to visit Cooperstown. Today, however, it serves as a baseball fan’s virtual tour. From beyond the site’s home page, there are several choices to choose from to start your day’s journey. Depending on the depth of your curiosity, it is possible to lose a day here:
Our Stories highlights features that include in-depth articles on the people who helped shape the game. In “Going Deep,” there are several articles reporting events on stars from the past, and individuals who were less visible to the public eye.
#CardCorner takes the baseball card collecting hobby and flips it into a revealing biography that transcends the stats. This should prove to be a favorite for many. Not only does it celebrate players of varying success, but it also highlights the art and colorful design that’s likely to bring fans back to their childhood.
Gene Mack provided newspaper readers cartoon caricatures of the sporting world’s headline grabbers. His collection of art, which spans a time of more than 35 years, is found on the website’s digital collection. It’s where you can also find audio recordings, including an interview of Negro League great “Cool Papa” Bell sharing how he played the game. There’s also a section set aside for scouting reports: of which, one of the best finds is that of a pitcher at a Pennsylvania high school named Dan Marino.
Baseball is not on the television today, but you have the chance to see new things from the game if you don’t mind going on a tour.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.