The long postseason wait — 266 days — has ended as Major League Baseball has their annual MLB Opening Day games. The season will have an abbreviated 60-game schedule kicking off Thursday evening, as a result.
MLB analyst Tom Verducci wrote an essay surrounding MLB Opening Day, with a video release available Thursday with narration from actor Jon Hamm.
We have missed you dearly.
266 days passed since we have seen you. Since Daniel Hudson threw the last pitch past Michael Brantley, and childlike joy ensued.
Never have we gone so long without you. Pitchers and poets — Robert Frost wrote — both have their moments; the intervals are the tough things.
A global pandemic forced this longest in intervals. In such times, we need the comfort of the familiar. We need the brief getaway of a happy diversion.
We need you, friend, as we have so often through trouble and tumult.
During World War I, the Secretary of War made an allowance for the 1918 World Series to be played.
In January 1942, FDR said you should continue through the war. He found baseball “thoroughly worthwhile to take our minds off work and war.”
Amid racial unrest in 1968, blacks and whites celebrated together in the streets of Detroit, because the Tigers won a championship.
After the 1989 Bay Area earthquake, the World Series resumed ten days later as a symbol of recovery.
You played a similar role in 2001 after 9/11. You gave us a reason to hope again.
In the wake of the bombing in Boston in 2013 and the hurricane in Houston in 2017, you lifted the spirits of people all the way to World Series championships.
Hope is your bedrock. Games are not bound by the expiration of time. As long as teams have an out left, they have hope. And if it doesn’t work out, there’s always tomorrow.
This is why we need you now. It is not because you heal us. You do not end the wars, solve social injustice or invent vaccines.
We need the nourishment of your routine: a ball game on the car radio. The way a game unfolds like a good book.
We also welcome what is new this year: a 60-game sprint, an instant rally in extra innings, a schedule of regional rivalries.
Reminders of the pandemic are everywhere. Empty ballparks. Social distance. No arguing, spitting or seeds. Players staying home.
But what Bill Veeck once said has never been truer: ‘Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.’
You are our companion from childhood, and such friends have a special hold on us. As best friends do, we pick up a conversation as if 266 days had never passed.
Welcome back, old friend. It is so good to see you.
MLB Opening Night games
The 2020 MLB season kicks off at 6:08 PM Central as the New York Yankees take on the reigning defending world champion Washington Nationals. New York’s Gerrit Cole will face off against Washington’s Max Scherzer as a result.
At 9:08 p.m., the San Francisco Giants will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants’ Johnny Cueto will be going against the Dodgers’ Dustin May. Clayton Kershaw was scratched from the lineup and placed on the IL list at around 3:15 p.m. PDT. As a result, May was put in to pitch as a last-minute executive decision.
MLB Opening Day games
The St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox are not in action Thursday. However, all three teams will begin league play Friday.
Firstly, the Cubs, with Kyle Hendricks on the card to pitch, will start action at Wrigley Field in Chicago as they host Brandon Woodruff and the Milwaukee Brewers. The game time is 6:10 p.m.
Secondly, the White Sox will be hosting the Minnesota Twins in American League action at Guaranteed Rate Field, as Jose Berrios and Lucas Giolito will be the opposing pitchers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Finally, the Cardinals and Jack Flaherty will be facing Joe Musgrove and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first pitch is 7:15 p.m. from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.