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IDEAS

Baseball rescues us — and rescues itself

On the porch, with the radio on, in the coronavirus summer.

Adobe/Globe Staff

Dispatches from the near future: Globe journalists imagine summer during the pandemic.

Baseball was too slow, they said, in the before times. And a part of me wanted to push back, even then. Had we really come to that?

Were we really that impatient?

But the truth is, I’d grown impatient, too. I wasn’t watching anymore. And it wasn’t just the length of the games — though three hours seemed too much. It was the whole enterprise.

Baseball seemed anachronistic. We’d outlived it. There was too much distance between the high-definition present and the black-and-white past.

But then the coronavirus came. And we ached, more than anything else, for a return to the past. Not the recent past. Not whatever went viral in December 2019 or January 2020. Something deeper. Something more familiar.

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Back in July, Major League Baseball started its abbreviated, 82-game season. And it felt a little strange at first. The stadiums were empty, after all. And the teams were only playing their regional rivals, to cut down on travel.

But even then, it felt comforting. And now, only more so.

In this corona summer, we sit on the front porch for three hours at a time. We wave at the neighbors we’ve just gotten to know. And we listen to the radio. The crack of the bat. The ball rattling off that ancient scoreboard in left field. And Joe Castiglione’s excited call as the Red Sox’s lanky shortstop turns third and races for home.


David Scharfenberg can be reached at david.scharfenberg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dscharfGlobe.