I have been as disappointed as anyone with the cancellations of NCAA and IHSA March Madness, the NCAA spring sports seasons and the suspension of the IHSA spring sport seasons.

I feel especially bad for all the senior athletes who were looking for their one last shining moment. I do give much credit to the IHSA for taking a wait-and-see approach to the spring sports instead of canceling them altogether. Nicely done, IHSA, nicely done.

But this unimaginable coronavirus pandemic became especially personal when I woke up Thursday morning. It was supposed to be the day all baseball fans alike have been waiting for since the last out of the World Series — opening day.

It’s when “next year” is here and all hopes spring eternal.

But stadiums across the county remained silent, wiped out by the pandemic. There would be no cries for “play ball.” For how long remains to be seen.

My beloved Cardinals were supposed to open in Cincinnati against the Reds. I got game ready nonetheless and put my Cardinals shirt on. I will probably keep wearing team attire regularly until they do get to play ball.

I especially think of my mom, Redbird Ruth, who eagerly awaits the baseball season each year like a kid for Christmas Day. It’s her outlet from the nursing home to the rest of the world.

Mom commented on Facebook she wished “we could all bang on trash cans to stop this nasty virus” (a reference to the Houston Astros cheating scandal). Most importantly, she said to keep on praying.

There have certainly been delays because of opening day rainouts, but nothing like this.

Baseball played on through World War II, although it shortened the 1918 season on Labor Day due to the Spanish flu pandemic that killed 50 million worldwide. Sadly, among eight big leaguers who died serving in World War I were two of its victims.

In my lifetime, there have been delays caused only by labor strikes and 9-11.

Baseball took seven days off following the horrific tragedies of 9-11. I so long for the day when our country united as one and patriotism shined and everyone didn’t make everything so political as they do today.

There have been eight stoppages of play due to labor strikes. The most recent and longest came at the end of the 1994 season, which inexplicably wiped out the World Series, and ran into the spring of 1995.

I pray we have an end to this strike against baseball and our everyday life soon.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.

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