“How do I feel about a shortened season?” is one of many questions that have been circling my mind for the past month as soon as it became official that we would have a shortened MLB season. Baseball is the sport I’ve loved most my entire life; and yet, for some reason, with only hours remaining until the first pitch of 2020 is thrown, I do not have the anxious jitters as I typically do heading into Opening Day. Why is that? I’m hoping the words will come together herein and enlighten me.
Maybe my lack of excitement is because I’m disgusted over the way in which the terms were negotiated publicly between the players and owners for us to even get a 2020 season. Maybe I’m upset that no fans will be able to have the “ballpark experience,” and homeruns will be hit into empty stadium bleachers. Is it because baseball was supposed to start 3 months ago and I’m getting used to being without it? What if I’m bitter that my hometown Cincinnati Reds finally seem to have a competitive roster, and now we’ll only be able to see them play 60 games? How do I feel about the new implemented rules? I could even have a bit of resentment towards not being able to participate in a meaningful way in fantasy baseball leagues. Or maybe I’m just mentally fatigued by the disastrous 2020 we’ve all encountered with no real positivity or end in sight.
But what if the Reds win their first World Series in my lifetime? Will it all be worth it then? Will it feel the same now that some of the allure has been taken away? Will all the added elements/circumstances of 2020 tarnish the expectations of that moment I’ve envisioned for 20+ years?
On the flip side, what if my expectations are blown away? There has been a deep unfilled void in my psyche due to the lack of sports for the better part of 4 months now; what if MLB returning, in any capacity, fills that emptiness? What if this shortened 60 game season is everything I hoped it could be? What if these changes bring new fans to the game of baseball? I’ve been clamoring for MLB to condense the season, and now that’s what we have. So what if the intensity and importance of every game; every inning; every at-bat is magnified to make this the most electrifying season in recent memory?
These are the uncertainties that have been rotating in my mind leading up to the 2020 season. And the consistent answer to all of these questions seems to be “I don’t know;” and I’m okay with that! I’m not allowing these conflictions to get in the way of me enjoying the game I’ve loved since I was a kid; and if you are having similar feelings heading into Opening Day, I hope you can approach it the same way!
Jesse Clark is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network. Follow him on Twitter @jcrocket24.