By Dennis Culloton
Let’s take a break from our home confinement and the very serious business of flattening the COVID-19 curve to warmer thoughts about where we would normally be today–at the ballpark for baseball’s opening day.
My Cubs would have been facing their rivals the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee and teams all over the country would have been throwing out their first pitches. Even casual baseball fans have this day marked on their calendars. It symbolizes the beginning of Spring and the promise of Summer days ahead. CBS Sports teamed up with Out of the Park Baseball 21 to play the slate of games for today virtually. In their version the Cubs won–Yu Darvish getting the W–and the White Sox game was postponed because of weather. In fact the weather in Chicago today was better than most Opening Days. A few years ago Cubs players made snow angels at Wrigley Field as their opener was postponed.
Fans of the NBA and NFL might grouse, but baseball fans lay claim to our sport being America’s pastime. Americans more literate than I have opined on its importance as an American touchstone. In his classic baseball documentary, filmmaker Ken Burns features the likes of Walt Whitman, George Will, Shelby Foote and Doris Kearns Goodwin just to name a few. Even casual fans mark Opening Day on their calendar as a rite of Spring and the promise of summer days to come.
For my money, there is no more moving elegy to baseball than that of James Earl Jones as writer Terence Mann convincing struggling Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, to resist pressure from the bank and build the Field of Dreams.
Someday, maybe soon, baseball will be back…and we will come.
Dennis Culloton is the President & CEO of Culloton + Bauer Luce.