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Unite Us? Heal Us? Spare Us. MLB Should Hand Over Mantle of America's Pastime & Abort Disastrous 'Season'

Illustration for article titled Unite Us? Heal Us? Spare Us. MLB Should Hand Over Mantle of Americas Pastime  Abort Disastrous Season
Photo: Getty

I’ve been in a very similar mindset as our own Jesse Spector about this whole baseball thing in 2020

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But my mind is made up now.

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MLB has failed its test as “America’s Pastime.”

This trainwreck of a “season” needs to be shut down hours after reaching its one-week anniversary last night — before one more player or staff member winds up with a potentially fatal virus.

I am a lifelong baseball fan. I have been to every stadium in the game and many that have long since been blown to smithereens. I still keep score when I go to games, for pete’s sake! I take baseball seriously.

But apparently baseball does not take me as a fan seriously, the health of its own players and staff seriously, nor give a rat’s ass about its previous standing as this country’s sporting equivalent of apple pie (and I have some thoughts about that being a standard bearer too, but not now).

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If baseball did care, it would shut this whole farce down NOW. And I mean before I even get to post this story, and I’ll happily click “Command-A, Delete” on it all and move on with my day (Ed. Note: Nope!). But Rob Manfred has given me no indication at all yet that I should worry about such an occurrence (Ed. Note: Ding Ding!).

Instead we get an 80 percent slate of games tonight and pretend the other 20 percent just had a regular night off, I guess.

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Baseball was touted for months, hellacious months, as the thing that would make us all forget that we’re all one step shy of joining a Traveling Symphony. It would “unite” us. It would “heal” us, as Manfred himself hoped. The New York Times printed a not-at-all-self-serving op-ed from Scott Boras trotting out the “America’s Darkest Days Greatest Hits” album and saying, “It is time again for baseball to serve.”

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All baseball has served us up so far a constant reminder that we live in a shitty place at a shitty time with an incompetent leader. When 90 percent of your coverage is about your bungling, you’re doing it wrong. When “tests positive” appears in more headlines than “hits game-winner,” boy, I dunno.

OK, fine, at least they are nailing logistics like a well-oiled machine …

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OH FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! BUSES! FUCKING BUSES FOR HUMAN BEINGS THAT JUST FOUND OUT THEY HAVE THE RONA?! FROM PHILLY TO MIAMI?! AND HAVE THEY EVEN SEEN A WEATHER MAP?

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Ok. Gimme a minute. My word.

Oh wait, what’s that? Gonna need another bus, you say?

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Namaste … Ohmmmmmm … OK, back we go:

Look who managed to do it right (even though they went “first”): The NWSL. A true bubble. Access to counseling for those living in the bubble. Round-the-clock testing. And no Covid cases.

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Aside from one silly and unfortunate Magic City detour, the NBA’s Bubble has now held up through scrimmage and the first night of “real” action. The NHL begins tomorrow and their Canada bubble has also not yet popped. Fingers crossed both leagues remain that way.

I’ll leave it to health and infectious disease experts to say why the MLB is failing in their non-bubble approach. I know what it looks like to me, Mr. Joe Sports Fan, but I’m not gonna waste digital ink on uneducated conjecture. We get enough of that from the Oval Office. I’m just focused on how disappointed I am, as a fan and a dang American, in the braintrust of a sport I have always loved failing its ultimate test to be that glue that can bring (and has brought!) a struggling nation some comfort and unity in times of crises.

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Instead, I could not bring myself to watch the opening night for fear I was endorsing a thing I just didn’t believe in my heart should be happening. I tried to give it a chance. Checked some scores that next day. Paid passing attention to stories that floated by … thought about maybe looking at my fantasy squad, which I did a set-and-forget on before the season began and have since ignored ...

Then I saw two teams empty their benches onto the field in the middle of a damn pandemic. Joe Kelly was given an eight-game suspension. To my mind, any player on that field in that kerfuffle without a mask on should’ve been sent home for the season. Dusty Baker and his big-talkin’, “We don’t start nothin’. But we don’t take nothin’ either, you know what I’m saying?” should have joined them for saying he didn’t need to talk to his team after.

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Save that bullshit bravado for an actual season — one where the U.S. hasn’t already lost more than 150,000 citizens to a virus. No one’s in the mood, asshole.

Illustration for article titled Unite Us? Heal Us? Spare Us. MLB Should Hand Over Mantle of Americas Pastime  Abort Disastrous Season
Photo: Getty
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At least some folx noticed that this thing looked like a house of cards from the jump. Just not the ones holding the deck, sadly. Jokers are wild in the MLB front office, and it makes me sick to my stomach.

You failed us, MLB. All of us.

Before one more positive case: Shut it down. Now.

We’ll live without baseball.

Deputy Editor, Deadspin. Author, "One Lucky Fan: From Bleachers to Box Seats, Chasing the Ultimate Sports Dream to Visit All 123 MLB, NBA, NFL & NHL Teams." Earthwalker.

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