(Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty)
This piece was originally published in The Athletic....
Moments after the Major League Baseball Players Association announced its members would be reporting to work on July 1, ending weeks of insufferable debates about prorated pay and how profitable owning a baseball team really is, I decided getting the details of the 2020 MLB mini-season in real-time wasn’t worth spending more time watching people get mad at each other online.
I instead retreated to my back patio for a cocktail and a cigar. As a farewell to Twitter’s relentless wave of non-stop anger, I bid adieu for the evening by posting this …
Well wouldn’t you know, my somewhat-douchey pseudo-salvo was noticed by none other than Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart. Tucker didn’t just scroll past it, or even give it a tacit acknowledgment by giving it a “like,” he gave me a retweet. Not like the kind of retweet athletes would give attention-starved morons who asked for an “RT” for their birthday, he gave me the full “retweet with comment” treatment.
I’m not sharing this with you because I believe that being retweeted by a Reds player is a big deal. I have no clue why Tucker, or anyone else for that matter, would even follow me. I’m barely tolerable to be around in real life, so I can’t imagine what it’s like to try to endure my insufferable need for attention online.
But Tucker’s tweet stood out nonetheless, not only because it reminded me of the best scene in “Major League” that didn’t involve Harry Doyle’s play-by-play, but because it tacitly answered questions that began percolating right when the likely specifics of a potential 2020 season started coming to light:
Can a season shortened by nearly two-thirds be meaningful? And are its results really legitimate?
I have a lot of questions about baseball’s 60-game season, scheduled to begin on July 23. Frankly, that’s really all I have since there’s still so much uncertainty hovering over, well, seemingly everything in American life right now.
The one thing I’m not questioning – hell, it’s the only thing I’m not questioning right now – is how much this season matters and whether it’s worth taking as anything more than a farcical exhibition with illegitimate results. Tucker Barnhart is far from the only major league player publicly expressing his excitement to return to work, and surely he isn’t the only guy confident in his team’s chances. But there was something about his tweet – at least for me – that removed any remaining doubt as to whether a 60-game season could be meaningful and legitimate.
It was also a nice reminder that Tucker’s team has a chance at being pretty good.
To read the entire piece, go to The Athletic.