Yesterday baseball grappled with the news that Nationals star Juan Soto would not play on Opening Day against the Yankees after testing positive for COVID-19. Fans were also treated to a stunning last minute development that MLB and the MLBPA had agreed to an expanded playoff format hours before the first pitch. It was a dizzying run-up to the return of the nation’s pastime, but baseball did return, albeit in a way that looked very different than anything we’ve seen before.
Dr. Anthony Fauci threw out the first pitch wearing a mask. It’s pretty clear baseball isn’t his best sport, but he was still absolutely the right man to start the 2020 season:
Anthony Fauci, First Pitch Mechanics. pic.twitter.com/QxszDQJDuu— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2020
For a few innings it looked like the rain might hold off in Washington DC as the Nationals and Yankees played the season opener. But when the rain came, it was hard to not see it as a sign that could only happen in 2020:
The deluge started immediately thereafter, cancelling the game and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s interview. Honestly I’ll just let that speak for itself.
The game was halted in the sixth inning, and since it had gone past five innings, it’s official:
On the West Coast Clayton Kershaw was pulled from the game at the last minute which led to a start from Dustin May and his incredible hair, which rivals the pandemic hair from Yu Darvish I highlighted yesterday:
If you looked closely in the nightcap last night you might have seen Giants coach Alyssa Nakken, the first female coach in MLB:
I spotted dozens of players in Black Lives Matter shirts during their warm-ups which is not something I expected from MLB. The movement on racial issues this summer has been remarkable. In fact, MLB is allowing players to opt-in to wearing patches that say “Black Lives Matter” and/or “United for Change” on their jerseys. Considering this is a league that won’t let Willson Contreras wear a Venezuelan flag arm sleeve, I was stunned.
The Dodgers are one of the teams with cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands and I’m just not sure I’ll get used to this:
We’re mere hours from finding out what Wrigley Field baseball in a pandemic will look like. I’m an excited, nervous, optimistic ball of emotions counting down the minutes.