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It’s not the lack of baseball, it’s the uncertainty

It’s a strange time over here.

Baseball Season Postponed Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

I don’t need to tell you this, but we are living through a truly crazy and unnerving time in our history. It’s safe to say that the majority of us have never experienced anything like this, and Aceves willing we never will have to again whenever this is over. We are dealing with new and unprecedented changes in our life pretty much every day, and in the grand scheme of things the sudden halt to baseball and sports in general is pretty far down on the list. Of course, it is far from nothing as it is a source of income for a lot of people beyond the extremely wealthy, among them being employees of the parks and arenas that host these events as well as workers at bars and restaurants in the surrounding area. Less importantly, most of the people who are reading this have sports as a pretty big part of their life, and the sudden disappearance is certainly not something that we can just look past.

I fall into that last group — my income also relies on sports of course, too, but my position right now is not dire on that front like the others I mentioned above — I am right there with everyone else in just feeling weird with the lack of baseball right now. Except, well, it’s not the lack of baseball that is throwing me off, and I suspect that will be the case a month from now as well if nothing has changed. As the headline at the top of the page says, I’m not really being affected emotionally or spiritually or however you want to describe it by the lack of baseball. I’m used to there not being baseball. I deal with it for six months every year during the winter, and even spring training is only barely baseball. Being without baseball has become normal over the offseason.

What I’m having real trouble with is that I’m not quite sure when baseball is coming back. It’s a totally foreign feeling in which there is no past at which to look to figure out when we could possibly expect more of the game around which so much of my life revolves. Even in strike or lockout years in sports, there’s no certain date when the game will return but there are other lockouts and strikes you can look at. There aren’t other pandemics to look to for some idea of when sports will resume. Of course, that hasn’t stopped anyone from speculating! There’s been no shortage of guesses about when the season will start up and what rosters sizes will look like and what the schedule will look like and how late the season will go and where they’ll play playoff games. Speculation has been rampant.

And, honestly, it’s kind of driving me nuts. That is not to say that people shouldn’t do this, because I do get it. In the face of this unprecedented uncertainty, this kind of speculation can work to trick yourself into thinking you have some idea of what comes next. All of that said, it’s making me uneasy because it just keeps changing. Reporters are doing their job of reporting what MLB is thinking in terms of when baseball comes back, but it feels like that date is being pushed back every six hours or so. It would be unfair to ask reporters not to report all of this, but at the same time can’t we all just quietly admit we don’t know so we don’t get that constant implicit reminder with each new report.

It’s just so goddamn weird not knowing anything. I mean, I pride myself on being able to know I never know shit about shit, and it’s this quality that makes me uneasy predicting anything in baseball because I know I don’t know. Except, well, we kind of know. Like, we don’t know specifics of what will happen in the future, but we have a baseline of what to expect, like in the strike/lockout situations above. If someone asks me to predict the standings for a baseball season, I certainly don’t know exactly what will happen, but I have past performances to make an educated guess. This is a situation where we truly cannot predict baseball, as in the existence of it.

Mostly, I’m just uneasy about not having a schedule. I am a very schedule-oriented person, because if I don’t have things at least a little mapped out I fall totally out of whack. I need that structure. My basic year is pretty much the same because of baseball. I cover the regular season, then I spend the start of the offseason unplugging a bit and taking some me time. Then around the Winter Meetings I get back into it a bit. Then spring training comes and I really start to gear up. Around the middle of January I start planning down to the date exactly how the next ten weeks or so are going to go, and then I’m back in the regular season. But those dates are important. In this situation, I’m in limbo. I can’t plan out how to cover this time, because I don’t know what this time is.

I don’t mean for this to come off as too neurotic or too much of a bummer, but sometimes you gotta talk things out of your head. I see people talking about how much being without baseball sucks, and I get it. At the same time, it might be sacrilegious but I can live without baseball. I do it for six months every year. I have other interests that will get me through this time. Of course, I also usually have a specific date to look forward to where the baseball comes back, and the lack of it is what really has me on edge. What I need the most right now is an idea of what happens next, and that’s a major problem because that idea doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon.