Thursday, March 26, 2020


It lasted for seven minutes..

Before the first note of the National Anthem had pierced the air, the roar of the crowd commenced. And when they reached "and the home of the brave" the ovation only intensified. It was a statement of our resolve, our relief, our recognition that it was now safe to come out, safe to become a fan again, safe to look forward without looking back over your shoulder.

The drama of the moment clearly affected the players on both teams, then situated along the first and third base lines in the tradition of Opening Day. And in the next instant, one of the most startling events I have ever witnessed in over six decades of watching this game occurred. The players broke ranks and the two teams congregated as one near home plate. They shook hands and many embraced, some even openly weeping. And the cheering of the fans exploded, as, from their seats, they joined hands and hearts with those they had come to see.

It was the most striking declaration that what was about to unfold was only a game, and that those standing on the field had together survived a most terrible war of attrition. These were not enemies, but united warriors who had beaten back a common foe. And no matter what would happen in the coming hours, weeks and months as the balls and strikes, hits and runs, wins and losses separated one group of men from another, a common bond had been forged both permanent and unbreakable.

Afterwards, once the contest had concluded (which, by the way, the boys from the Bronx won, 6 runs to 3, Gerritt Cole pitching five innings of one run ball, the Bombers belting four solo home runs, one each for LeMahieu, Torres, Voit and Andujar, he in a pinch hitting role in his first toe dipping in the water in almost a year) all the discussion focused not on the statistics but on the feelings of those who had participated.

Aaron Boone said it felt surreal to be back in the dugout. "It was as though I was not a manager but someone watching as a most extraordinary event unfolded. Not moving chess pieces around for I was far too distracted, my mind focused on how grateful I was to be alive and to have the privilege to be back among this group. I didn't want this game to end, no matter the score."

Aaron Judge said his aching ribs felt much better, any pain masked by the adrenaline that surged through his body the moment he stepped onto the field for pre-game introductions. "The only ache I felt was in not being able to participate" as he bided his time on the 10 day disabled list. "I so wanted to be out there, good, bad or indifferent. I just wanted to be out there."

And the rest who were interviewed all echoed one another, the victory or defeat being mere footnote. All giving thanks just for the opportunity to be back where they belonged when, for so long, that goal seemed so far out of reach.

Many spoke of friends or family members who had suffered through the plague that had ravaged the nation. Almost all with a tale to tell of how someone they knew had either had a close brush with death or had succumbed to a relentless, brutal enemy. None were left untouched.

Conversation about strike zones, about pitch counts and pitch outs, about the trials and tribulations of trying to read and react to a 92 MPH slider in less than half a second would have to wait until tomorrow.

Today, it was enough that Game One was now in the books.

It was ok, once more, to be alive. 

We are all going to be just fine.


Anonymous said...


The run scored against Cole was unearned, Torres made an error!


Anonymous said...

Such a shame... thank goodness for classic reruns at least.