/March without the Madness April without baseball Just when we most need diversion

March without the Madness April without baseball Just when we most need diversion

Five weeks after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote President Franklin Delano Roosevelt seeking advice on professional baseball. Landis wrote: “If we believe that we should close down for the duration war, we will do so immediately. We would be happy to continue if you feel that we should. Landis was not forced to wait too long for his order. FDR replied on January 15, 1942. He strongly advised that baseball continue its games. FDR said, in part: “It would be best to continue baseball.” FDR stated that there would be fewer unemployed people and everyone will work harder and longer than ever before. Americans would need to find ways to distract themselves from work and war. He declared that baseball would be “thoroughly worth it.” You know what happened. Many of the greatest players in the game, including Ted Williams and Bob Feller, enlisted to help the U.S. win World War II. Baseball’s quality declined during World War II. As a diversion, baseball did not suffer. Americans still had games they could attend. They still had box scores that they could read in the next paper. They had some normality in their lives. Yes, COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus is a different threat. Due to the infectious nature of the disease, it is possible for the spread of the virus to increase if there are large numbers of people. The postponements made in college and professional sports over the last few days are wise and sensible. The hope is that in the end, we will remember that sports are an enjoyable distraction and an integral part our society. It’s hard to imagine March without basketball’s Madness. It was Thursday afternoon when that became a reality. It is hard to imagine April without Major League Baseball. It’s now certain. The minor league teams in Mississippi will surely follow this example. Many compelling stories in sports are often put on hold in Mississippi. The men’s basketball team at Pearl River Community College has won 28 games without losing and was scheduled to start play in the national tournament in Hutchinson (Kansas). This tournament was postponed to at least April 20. Vic Schaefer’s Mississippi State women’s team would have hosted an NCAA Tournament subregional next weekend. The entire tournament was canceled. The men’s tournament has also been cancelled. Mississippi State fans hoped Ben Howland’s men’s team would win two games in the SEC Tournament to make it to the NCAA field. There is no field. The best thing about the Mississippi college baseball season is that it’s on hold. The fifth-ranked Ole Miss has a 16-1 record and has won 16 consecutive matches. No. 13 Mississippi State has won five straight, including two victories over No. 2 Texas Tech. Southern Miss is also 12-4. Each of the three teams were among the top national baseball teams in attendance and had massive home baseball weekends starting Friday. All of this is not happening. Let’s go back to how we started this column. Television has made the biggest changes in the sport’s nature since World War II. Television has made it possible for more people to watch sports online than they do in person. This is a drastic change from 80 years ago. Without cheering and spectators, competitive sports would be less entertaining. Even without spectators and cheering, televised sporting competition would be far better than any. It would be a welcome distraction from the grim and often disturbing news. We should play as soon as the games are safe, even in empty stadiums. Based on what we know now, and what we don’t know about the number of people who are already infected with the virus, sports officials have the right to make the best decisions.