As we get towards the end of another week of staying at home as much as possible during this crazy new “normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, it’s almost easy to forget that Thursday was supposed to be the first day of the 2020 MLB season for the Rangers. They were supposed to take the field at beautiful T-Mobile Park in Seattle and have everyone on the roster introduced as part of the incredible Opening Day ceremonies that baseball offers. There would be a huge American flag rolled out across the outfield, almost certainly a flyover if the weather in the unpredictable Pacific Northwest allowed the stadium’s roof to be open. It would have been perfect.
Well that’s not happening today, of course, or any day in the near future. It’s been about two weeks since the last American professional team sports were played and there is no timetable on them returning as this virus continues to spread and grow across the country before it gets any better. There are a lot more important things going on than a baseball game right now — don’t think I’m trying to suggest otherwise — but it still stings that we won’t have the magic of Opening Day and a few other Rangers-related things to enjoy in the coming weeks and likely months.
This team could have been pretty interesting
Coming off a mediocre 78-84 season in 2019, it’s hard to justify having any type of sky-high expectations for this team. However, despite not picking up a true current superstar like it was suggested they could before last winter began, they have improved their roster at several positions that needed help.
The return of Robinson Chirinos isn’t going to swing the odds of their chances in the AL West or anything, but his clubhouse presence and right-handed bat sure are an upgrade over the limited results the Rangers got from the catcher position in 2019.
Another stop-gap option at third base after they missed on the likes of Anthony Rendon, Todd Frazier should still be an upgrade over the revolving door of options they used to cover the hot corner in the second half of 2019.
Adding Jordan Lyles, Kyle Gibson and two-time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber to round out a rotation that still includes outstanding starters like Mike Minor and Lance Lynn gave Texas what appeared to be its best starting rotation in a long, long time.
Add in hopefully a full year worth of Joey Gallo after he missed basically the second half of a 2019 season where he had an All-Star earning, MVP-worthy first half, and there was a lot of intriguing talent on this team. We’ll eventually get to see it, but it still stings it’s not happening this week.
Having to wait even more time until we can take in the new Globe Life Field
The Rangers were supposed to host the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game on March 23rd in what would have been the first sporting event at the new stadium. It will now be months before that event takes place. After a winter full of promotional shots of the stadium’s construction progress on social media, it’s hard to see pictures of the now completed venue just sitting and waiting.
Patiently waiting. pic.twitter.com/wwhC6cRRmR
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 24, 2020
It looks really beautiful and the construction workers deserve a lot of praise for getting it to this point so quickly considering I took a tour in early February and it was a total construction zone that really only had the bones of a baseball stadium.
For now, we’re only able to imagine what a game will be like there. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it sure will be incredible once we’re finally allowed in there.
Not being able to bond over baseball with those special family and friends
I’ve gone to Ranger games with a lot of different people over my 27 years, but going with my three-year-old son is an experience I cherish every time I get to do it. He’s loved to swing a bat pretty much ever since he could walk. He started off referring to baseball as “dahdah” but eventually worked his way up to the current “bay-ball” which isn’t totally correct, but I’m willing to roll with it. He freaks out anytime we see Rangers Captain on TV, on social media, at a game, wherever. The kid loves everything about the experience of going to a Rangers game.
It breaks my heart when he’ll randomly ask me three times a week if we’re going to the Rangers game and I have to explain that they’re not playing right now. He says “coronavirus” in a funny way, but of course he has no grip of the seriousness of the situation. I almost envy him for that.
For now, highlights and other random baseball videos we find on YouTube will have to suffice, but I can’t wait to share more baseball moments with him in 2020.
While there’s no end in sight for this terrible situation, I am confident it will end and we’ll all be better from it. Despite the financial hardship or occasional stir-crazy moments, this is a time to reflect on who and what we love. Baseball will be back, and I can’t wait to enjoy and appreciate it even more when it does.
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