Just when we really needed a feel-good diversion from the extremely upsetting difficulties of our times, the one thing we normally could count on to unite our communities and give us something to cheer about has fallen victim to covid-19.
To borrow from “Casey at the Bat,” there will be no baseball joy in Berlin this summer — the season has been cancelled, because of scheduling issues and concern for the health and safety of players, coaches, parents and fans.
That means just under 600 youngsters won’t get a chance to run the bases this summer and, perhaps, take fans, young and old, along for another incredible ride, as Berlin’s all-star teams have done so often.
Even sadder is that scores of kids won’t be introduced to the fundamentals of these delightful game, which, unlike other team sports in this country, is referred to as a pastime rather than a conflict or a war. It is a leisurely contest interrupted by moments of intense action, speed and reflexes, and some of its most enjoyable moments involve players’ excitement when all the instruction, the guidance and their own skills combine to get that one play, or at-bat or throw to the plate just right.
League officials made the right decision, of course, in calling off this year’s season. Regardless of how disappointed players and fans might be, there was nothing else they could do. Its absence will be sorely missed.
To borrow again from “Casey,” written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer more than 130 years ago, in 1888:
Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Berlin — this season has been called out.