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This is where the baseball words used to go

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Now, just words.

‘Cincinnati BaseBall Club’ Scorecard Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

The little tulips have poked their leaves through the years-old mulch, and there’s a snow storm in the forecast for Thursday that will likely stomp them all.

It is spring, life’s yearly renaissance. The morning of our annual day. The morning shower we look forward to after our long winter sleep.

I have reached the point in my life where it is hard to delineate baseball’s role in that. As the snow melts and the evenings grow brighter, so, too, come the cracks of the bats, the backdoor sliders, the cans of corn, and the inning-ending 6-4-3s. Winter is our sleep, spring is our alarm clock, and the first sounds of baseball are the cup of coffee that jolts my soul awake.

I’m sure at least a few other coffee addicts out there will stumble across these words. And when they do, the thought of a life stripped of coffee will send a visceral chill down their respective spines. I’m having one of those moments right now, coincidentally while sipping my morning bean juice from my trusty mug.

Baseball, right now, is trivial, and I know that. That’s precisely why there is no baseball right now, because there both shouldn’t be any and because there doesn’t need to be any. It’s a trifling bit of third-tier news in a cycle that continues to bring life or death updates on the world as it battles this pandemic. There are much bigger, much badder things on which we must focus our time, effort, and energy and the quicker we all do so, the quicker we might get back some sense of normalcy.

That doesn’t mean there is no void in that wake, however. There is, and it’s a big one. That’s just what happens when something so routine gets carved out in such quick fashion.

The reality is that here, on March 16th, we haven’t yet missed baseball. It wasn’t going to actually be baseball again until the 26th which, as I think about it while typing this sentence, still feels like light years away from this very minute. Even then, the two-week suspension of games that were set to start the season on the 26th already feels like spitting on a bonfire to try to put the thing out.

Two weeks, in all likelihood, has already become two months. That’s two months for now, mind you. As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale relayed earlier today, MLB commish Rob Manfred ordered the complete shutdown of all team facilities indefinitely, and that has GMs league-wide bracing for a season that could get pushed all the way back to July.

July. In a beautiful coincidence, the 2019 Cincinnati Reds had completed exactly half of their season when they woke up on July 1st, with 81 full games in the books. Eugenio Suarez had just bonked his 17th homer, Nick Senzel was a budding star with an .806 OPS as the team’s leadoff hitter, and Yasiel Puig - Yasiel Puig! - was the team’s cleanup hitter.

If it feels like a lifetime ago, you aren’t alone.

There will be no kicker to this post. There was no point larger than missing baseball, beginning to comprehend just how big of a portion of my life it has occupied for years, and coming to terms with the fact that it isn’t going to be back in a form at all similar to how it’s been for years any time soon. I will keep some virtual fingers crossed for a lightning bolt of good fortune, one that jolts the schedule of earth events back in a positive direction, but I am not expecting anything of the like.

We are just going to have to miss baseball for awhile. Again. I’m tired of this nap.