Play ball! It will be awhile before we hear those words again

This is a time unlike any other in our nation’s history. The United States of America has canceled all athletic events. Indefinitely. This is a stunning development as we are a country that has always turned to sports to get us through our toughest times and to help us heal from our worst tragedies.

Think 9/11. I still get chills watching President George W. Bush throw that World Series first pitch a Yankee Stadium just days after the attacks. It was a perfect strike and a clear sign better days were ahead.

Baseball eased our collective minds in World War II. And when that war threatened to put MLB on hiatus, fans went to stadiums to see women play America’s pastime. Remember A League of Their Own?

Generations of military members have been able to relax while on duty by listening to sporting events on Armed Forces Radio during times of conflict around the world.

And after the Boston Marathon bombing, David Ortiz grabbed the microphone at Fenway Park and declared “This is our f’ing city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom.”

But now is different. This horrible enemy is not a person or foreign nation. We are being forced into a kneel down position by a virus we can’t even begin to understand. And until we do, sports is being benched.

The men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, the NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS are suspended indefinitely. Locally UMaine hockey and Women’s basketball had their seasons ended abruptly. Some colleges and leagues are suspending or cancelling entire spring sports schedules leaving athletes unable to participate.

The Maine high school spring sports season is postponed. Schools are closing left and right.

The implications will be remembered for generations. Sports records and stats for 2020 will forever have an asterisk.

Teams with championship aspirations like the Bruins and Celtics may be left to wonder “what if?” Just like the Montreal Expos of the strike season in 1993.

Of course the real point of professional, to a large degree college, sports especially in our country is to provide an entertainment product for fans. And at this moment in time it is no longer safe for fans to partake in person.

The health concerns of our friends, family, communities and nation take a clear priority.

If not playing any games of any kind for the foreseeable future saves even one life, and lessens the economic impact of what could be a long battle with this awful virus, then I say “don’t let the games begin.” This is how it needs to be for the greater good.

Because at the end of the day we are all on the same team.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.