Baseball fans, teams and players were all looking forward to Thursday, the official Opening Day for <A href=”https://www.mlb.com/”>MLB</a>. It was meant to be the mark of a new era in baseball, one that would (hopefully) be void of any <A href=”https://www.sportsintel.com/manfred-signals-houston-has-a-really-big-problem/”>major scandals</a>. However, the coronavirus came in and decided to disrupt sports, and everything else people had going on, forcing MLB to reconsider the start of the regular season.
On Wednesday, there appeared to be some good news coming out of the league. Sources are saying, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, that the league and team owners could announce Thursday how the rest of the season will play out. Undoubtedly, the entire sports community will be anxiously waiting to hear what they say.
Fortunately, Opening Day will still be held tomorrow – in a way.
In lieu of live games, MLB has scheduled “Opening Day at Home.” The plan is to offer a replay of one game from every team on MLB.com and its social media channels on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The league announced the initiative on its website and on social media, explaining that it will offer “30 games broadcast nationally across various platforms, including digital streaming and social media, creating a full-day event on what would have been Opening Day. The experience is intended to invite fans to feel a sense of community and unity on a day many were looking forward to, while underscoring the importance of staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.”
Spoiler alert for those who may not have every baseball game in history committed to memory. If you’re not part of that group, fast forward to the next paragraph. The game to be shown for each team is a winning game, so the outcome will be known from the start. However, it will still be a great time to relish the victory and enjoy highlights and get a baseball fix.
MLB adds that, in addition to streaming the games, fan interaction will provide as much of a “real” feel as could be expected under the current circumstances. The organization explains that “by using the hashtag #OpeningDayAtHome, fans can connect with each other while watching their team’s selected game at a set time.”
It also states, “In addition, on MLB Network, you can watch classic Opening Day games all day, beginning at 1 p.m. ET with Derek Jeter’s first Opening Day in 1996, and ending at midnight with Tuffy Rhodes’ unforgettable three-homer day for the Cubs against Doc Gooden and the Mets in 1994. Meanwhile, ESPN2 will air a Home Run Derby marathon beginning at 6 p.m. ET, starting with Pete Alonso’s 2019 triumph, followed by the derbies from 2018, ’17 and ’15.”
Opening Day at Home is just one of the activities the league is putting together to keep baseball fans happy. It also now has all games from the 2018 and 2019 seasons available for free on MLB.TV, and a wide range of classic games have been added to the MLB Vault channel on YouTube.
There’s also something in the initiatives for MLB. It will take advantage of these opportunities to plug several charities that are assisting communities hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, including, among others, Feeding America and Meals on Wheels. MLB, in collaboration with the MLB Players Association, donated $1 million to these two charities last week, and has also earmarked $30 million to be provided by league clubs to provide relief for ballpark employees.
The action will get started early tomorrow and run all day, making March 26 an awesome day for baseball fans who never get tired of the game. The first two games get going at 8:30 AM Eastern Time (ET), and the last two are scheduled to start at 10 PM and 10:30 PM ET. While it may not be as good as a live alternative, it’s better than nothing and will give fans sitting around the house on self-isolation a great way to pass the time.