The NBA created a bubble in the middle of one of the hardest hit coronavirus states, the NHL has not one, but two bubbles in Canada, but the MLB?
The MLB is flying players across the country with more virus hot spots than success stories.
At any given moment it seems the shortened 60 game season will be called off and yet I’m more drawn to the America’s past time than ever before.
Well maybe the looming threat of a league wide shut down makes the current moment seem more tantalizing. It could be that baseball was the first of the four major sports to return following the pandemic shutdown. Or it could be that baseball is rewriting the rules to the most traditional game in real time to account for a global pandemic.
While the above reasons are contributing factors the real reason baseball has managed to lure me in is much simpler.
I’ve become infatuated with two men sitting socially distanced in a broadcast booth.
Chicago, like many large metropolitan cities, has two Major League Baseball teams (the Cubs and the White Sox) whose fandom generally follows geographic boundaries.
After moving south of Chicago’s line of demarcation my girlfriend Marissa and I joked that now we have to be White Sox fans and so we tuned into opening day to root on our “new team.”
That’s when we first heard Jason Benetti and Steve Stone. The Sox TV broadcasting duo had us hooked immediately with their wit, chemistry, and passion.
As opposed to most baseball broadcasts that consist of monotone speakers trading antidotes while counting pitches, Jason and Steve genuinely sounded like best friends who were delighted to get to watch live baseball again. I immediately imagined that even if all the cameras and audio equipment were off they would have had the same enthusiasm and conversation.
In a sport defined by tradition and guarded by unwritten rules, the White Sox announcers are content to fight off fits of laughter between baseball plays.
And the fact that Jason and Steve are announcing an up and coming team doesn’t hurt either.
In year three of a rebuild the Sox have finally turned the corner. Rookie outfielder Luis Roberts is built like the prototypical baseball superstar and swings the bat like one too. He along with fellow young stars: Moncada, Anderson, Abreu, and Jimenez, are now the backbone of a franchise that has eagerly waited to return to competitive action.
Perhaps Jason and Steve living through the drought has made the recent rain more enjoyable which is coming across in this year’s broadcasts.
Whatever the case may be, the precarious nature of this baseball season isn’t putting a damper on the Sox’s broadcast booth.
So if you were like me and didn’t think baseball was for you – maybe you just haven’t found the right (broadcast) team yet.