Baseball…it is good to have you back. It honestly feels like we haven’t seen each other in a longer time than we actually have. It honestly feels like we have not seen a normal sport in a while.
Last season for some reason just didn’t feel like baseball. There were no fans, the season was way shorter and overall it just felt…wrong. Even the playoffs, though watching baseball from 12 -12 during the first round was incredible, felt different. There were more teams, neutral sites, and still, for the most part…no fans.
2020 overall was an odd year for everyone and the baseball season was no different. Opening day was in July, 60 games and various rule changes for a season unlike any other. At first it felt great to be able to watch a baseball game again after the weird couple months that 2020 had brought us. It quickly ended though and with under .500 teams in the playoffs it felt wrong. You really started to miss normal baseball. You missed how it felt to watch a live sport in normal times. No sport at the time was normal. The NHL and NBA were in bubbles, The NFL had a mix of fans and no fans. Overall you kind of forgot what it was like to watch sports in a normal setting. Even when the NHL and NBA started up again it really did not feel normal as the stadiums were set up differently and a lot of teams did not allow fans at the beginning of their season. Baseball fans are trying to bring sports back to normal.
That by far has been the biggest and best change to the 2021 season. At the moment it is not a lot of fans but still seeing real live baseball fans is something that a lot of people realized they didn’t know that they missed. Hearing the real roar of the crowd when a clutch hit happens or someone makes a big out is an unbelievable feeling that warms the hearts of millions of people all across the country. The players have also talked about how refreshing it is to have fans back. Mets first baseman Pete Alonso talked about how he loved getting booed in Philadelphia. Imagine feeling happy about getting booed. Refreshing is the perfect way to describe what it is like to have fans back in the stands.
April baseball is also a major difference between this and last year. April is supposed to be a sign of hope. School is ending, summer is almost here and every single baseball fan thinks their team is going to have a shot at the commissioner’s trophy. April baseball always feels good. You haven’t had baseball all winter and then out of nowhere, it is on every single night. It feels good knowing you can come home and watch the game.
It feels like baseball again. It feels like sports again and it feels like it never left us. Lots of people didn’t even watch last season due to it just not feeling like baseball. It is not perfect as we are still amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. There still is a runner on second at the start of extra innings, there are still seven inning double headers and of course everyone is still wearing masks. However, this feels like a step in the right direction. America’s pastime is playing 162 games over the course of six months. Soon we will get back to the large crowds and no masks but for now this is a good start.