Posts

How Baseball Fans and Teams Are Celebrating Opening Day from Home: ‘We Can Do This Together’

Image zoom

Baseball fans across America who have been eagerly counting down the days until the start of the season are celebrating the arrival of Opening Day at home, instead of at the ballpark.

Major League Baseball announced earlier this month that they would be suspending the remainder of spring training due to the global spread of the novel coronavirus — which also meant pushing back Opening Day, originally slated for March 26.

As that date has finally arrived, fans and teams alike are coming together online to safely celebrate their love of the game.

Opening Day holds an important place in our hearts. It signifies the arrival of spring, the promise of new beginnings, the return of following your favorite team on a long journey filled with twists and turns, and the hope that your team will put together a magical season you will remember forever,” wrote MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in a message shared on social media.

“Today is unlike any Opening Day in Major League Baseball’s long history. We need to call on the optimism that is synonymous with Opening Day and the unflinching determination required to navigate an entire baseball season to help us through the challenging situation currently facing us all,” he added. “We can do this together by following the direction of our public health experts and government officials to collectively address this global pandemic. Baseball will return, just as soon as it’s safe to do.”

Although there will be no new games to watch, the league promises that “there will still be plenty of baseball” for fans to watch.

“In addition to programming on MLB Network, ESPN2 , and FS1, we have made thousands of games available for free to you through MLB.TV, MLB.com, and MLB’s YouTube accounts. We also are hosting Opening Day at Home, a selection of 30 memorable games, one for each Club, that you can enjoy today across MLB’s digital platforms,” Manfred wrote.

“Throughout our history, baseball has helped us get through difficult times. Baseball will continue to be here for you as we face these challenges together as a community and we look forward to when we can safely get back on the field and hear the words, ‘Play Ball,’ ” he added.

The league also shared an uplifting video, narrated by Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout.

“Every year on opening day we come together to hope, to believe, to be part of a community. Opening Day may be postponed, but unity, hope, and community don’t have to be,” he says in the clip. “This is a team game played by individuals and every one of us has a role to play. Even though we are apart, we can come together.”

RELATED: All the Best Sports Documentaries to Watch While Live Games and Matches Remain Canceled

Many teams are honoring the day by wishing their fans well on social media, streaming exciting games from the past, and sponsoring giveaways.

The Philadelphia Phillies started off the day by airing a stand-out 2019 game against the Chicago Cubs, which ended with a spectacular grand slam by outfielder Bryce Harper.

Highlighting the fact that “we’re all in this together,” the Baltimore Orioles — who were set to face off against the New York Yankees — noted that while nobody knows for sure when Opening Day will take place this year, baseball will be back.

“We are not sure when Opening Day will arrive, but what we do know is this,” a touching video message proclaimed. “There will never be cheers so loud, chants so proud, and tears so sweet. Because we will overcome this together.”

The Cincinnati Reds also re-posted a fan-favorite video that showed former Mayor Mark Mallory throwing out the first pitch — and completely missing home plate.

Coming together on a now bittersweet day, many fans posted photos of themselves proudly wearing jerseys, flying their team’s flags, and even preparing for their own celebratory feasts.

However — although many were grateful that the league and their teams were doing their part to make sure Opening Day was still special — some couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

“I love that the MLB is trying everything to make #OpeningDayAtHome a positive experience. However,” one fan wrote, alongside a photo of somebody holding a sign that read “I am sad.”

Striking a positive note, another added: “Thanks, @MLB for doing #OpeningDayAtHome. Just missing the sounds of baseball and this is delivering.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT