The first pitch was 40 feet outside. The game ended in a rainout.
Juan Soto has coronavirus.
A day of bad omens but—baseball is back.
Here’s the video, on the Big Inning Youtube channel:
Before the game, it was Dr. Fauci, masked, standing on mound to start the ceremonial return to our nation’s pastime.
The symbolic moment of things getting back to normal.
And it went like this:
Anthony Fauci, First Pitch Mechanics. pic.twitter.com/QxszDQJDuu
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2020
Flattening the curve, as the New York Post said, straight into the ground.
Best response I’ve seen to Dr Fauci’s first pitch https://t.co/WpHYDI88TN
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) July 24, 2020
And so on this national night of returning to normalcy, the first major sport to return, on ESPN in prime time, we get The Return of Baba Booey on the mound—making you wonder if this entire thing wasn’t just one big nightmare.
— Mary Davie (@marydavie) July 23, 2020
But then, after weird beginnings, grim beginnings, would-things-really-begin beginnings, baseball dusted itself off and managed to come through.
And never before have so few people been present for something so anticipated.
Yankees vs Nationals. Defending champs against the could-be champs. In Washington, on a midsummer evening. Aaron Judge at the plate. Max Scherzer on the mound.
And the first official hit of this 2020 season.
Aaron Judge with the first hit of the 2020 season. Remember that for trivia purposes.
— Carp (@robcarpenter81) July 23, 2020
Two batters later, with a fastball coming straight over the middle of the plate…
We got our first home run of the year—that most American of spectacles.
Giancarlo Stanton mashing a two run shot to left-center field.
2-0 Yankees, and baseball was back for real.
Stanton is taking zero prisoners this year. That ball was hit 1000 feet minimum. pic.twitter.com/QKc9FOgnHl
— Eric Hubbs (@BarstoolHubbs) July 23, 2020
And in the bottom half of the inning, it was the Nats’ turn to make things feel normal. In the way that only home runs over a big green baseball field can do.
Gerrit Cole on the mound, in his Yankee debut. Adam Eaton at the plate.
And a 2-2 fastball drilled into the stands in right.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 23, 2020
One inning, two home runs, and a glimpse at what things turning around might look like.
If it still felt weird? With the masks, the empty seats, the quiet around the ballpark…
Well, the baseball gods supplied us our fix.
Angel Hernandez being Angel Hernandez. Doing what he does “best”, year after year. With one of his pantheon moments:
Angel Hernandez with a horrible strike three call. Baseball is back! pic.twitter.com/aTtH8k6jVl
— Jason Foster (@ByJasonFoster) July 23, 2020
When you see something like that, you feel at home again.
You forget about the weirdness.
You snap to, like a dog recognizing its long-lost owner.
And you realize that baseball, finally, is back.
Even if it only lasted five innings.
The game has been called. And because they played five innings, it’s official.
Final: Yankees 4, Nationals 1.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 24, 2020
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 24, 2020
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