Most sobering, clearly, was the postponement of the Nationals’ opener, towards the Mets in Washington, after a Nationals participant examined constructive for the coronavirus. As a result of a number of teammates and a workers member have been discovered to have been in shut contact with the participant, Main League Baseball mentioned the groups wouldn’t open on Friday, both. By the top of opening day, the Nationals mentioned that they had three confirmed virus circumstances amongst gamers.
The sport was scheduled because the prime-time attraction for ESPN, with a matchup of aces within the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer. The truth that M.L.B. postponed it anyway appears ominous; final summer season, constructive assessments tended to set off sophisticated schedule shuffling made simpler by solely regional play and frequent doubleheaders by which video games lasted solely seven innings.
Within the case of the Mets and the Nationals, divisional foes who meet regularly, rescheduling one recreation will probably be comparatively straightforward. The league desperately needs to keep away from the sorts of outbreaks that derailed the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals early final season, and believes it may well accomplish that via contact tracing and excessive warning.
Earlier than spring coaching, the league had proposed to the union a 154-game schedule (with the total pay of a typical 162-game common season), with video games to start in early Might. That timetable would have given extra time for gamers to be vaccinated, in the event that they wished, however different parts of the proposal made it unworkable for the gamers, and the schedule proceeded as normal.
Over all, in fact, there’s nothing regular about life in a pandemic, and with the Nationals and the Mets unable to play, M.L.B. once more missed out on its purpose of getting all 30 groups begin the season on the identical day. For one motive or one other, that has not occurred since 1968, when there have been solely 20 groups.
Then once more, even with out the virus-related postponement, Thursday was sure to be lower than full. The explanation was probably the most mundane, and maybe probably the most predictable, of all: unhealthy climate within the Northeast.