Will the Miami Marlins and MLB ever be whole again?

JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: A general view of the field after the spring training game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 12, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. Major League Baseball is suspending Spring Training and delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: A general view of the field after the spring training game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 12, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. Major League Baseball is suspending Spring Training and delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Can the return of Miami Marlins baseball help fans find normalcy with a game they are waiting to watch once again?

It’s a question I keep asking myself. When will baseball return? I ask not because I am a writer who needs to come up with a topic regarding the Miami Marlins to write about. Rather, it’s because I’m a fan who is saddened by the fact that we are in week seven of this work stoppage where no one has been able to see America’s pastime being played.

No balls and strikes. No rivalry games. No controversies involving umpires. There’s nobody playing ball on public diamonds. There’s no talk at length of minor league games on the horizon. For us diehards, it’s one of the lowest points in the history of the sport.

I realize the pandemic of COVID-19 is greater than a sporting event. I realize that millions of people are sick and many lives have perished. But it still pains me to know that playing a child’s game may not happen for at least another eight weeks.

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The implications surrounding time away from the game not only affect the Miami Marlins, but 29 other majorly teams, their minor-league systems, and the landscape of this great sport. I was hoping that baseball will be the one thing that brings the masses together, which would tie everything into some meaningful explanation.

Instead, I am watching different scenarios of how this game is going to be played and wondering how is this all going to happen? How will everybody be safe? Most important to all this, how will the game be the same after all this time away?

The other night I had a chance to talk to Chris Roberts, the renowned former voice of the UCLA Bruins. I got a lesson about this great sport. I was able to express my feelings. And in a way that I had not imagined, it was quite cathartic. There’s a purity of baseball that can’t be explained by anybody who doesn’t truly love its symmetry. To be able to sit in a ballpark and watch the chess match between pitcher and hitter. To look at a dugout and watch a manager call a game. Roberts helped me to understand that it’s not just baseball that is important here. It’s the entire nation getting back on his feet after such a tragedy.

I wanted to find some comparison to what is happening now and how baseball helped America heal from 9/11. It’s not comparable. And it wouldn’t be fair to either situation to try and link the two. But what I do understand is that just like the tragedy of 9/11, I want something bold to help me get over this sorrow. Baseball did that 18 years ago. And in some way, it must find a bandage for what we are all going through.

Now, Miami Marlins fans sit and wait for a solution to all this. Different plans have been offered. Playing baseball in Arizona. Playing baseball in Florida. Three, 10-team divisions with expanded playoffs. Talk of the designated hitter being used by every team. And the safety that surrounds every single team and everybody involved if the upmost importance.

It’s still scary to talk about. For the moment, this pandemic isn’t going away. Baseball is waiting for some sign to carry-on.

The Miami Marlins and CEO Derek Jeter have pledged to be ready when they are told to resume preparing for the 2020 baseball season. So are the other teams in the National League East. So are the other teams in every division, with bated breath.

I feel guilty for wanting to see baseball at the moment when I know things are more important than just this game. But I’m human. I need something to tear my attention away from what’s going on. I need to be able to write about how great things around the horn. I want to watch a Sandy Alcantara fastball and Brian Anderson hit a game-winning triple in the ninth inning. Those are the things I look forward to. For others, It’s about their heroes in different parts of the country.

Hopefully, someday soon, we will be talking about better days. A healthy America. A healthy world. And who is leading the division races. Maybe the Miami Marlins surprise everybody in a shortened season. Maybe manager Don Mattingly finds the magic elixir to bring a title back to South Florida. In any case, fans will be ready as well. Not because they have a stake and what’s going on in this tragedy and what happens with the 2020 MLB season. But because they want some normalcy.

Baseball can bring that. When it happens though it’s still up in the air.

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