Linda Gebroe: Mudville

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Baseball is back, kinda. No fans, limited rosters and a precarious, short season. Die-hard Giants fan Linda Gebroe sorts through her conflicting sentiments.

There is no joy in Mudville.

At least that’s what I’d been thinking, anyway. Between this global pandemic, systemic racism and political insanity, my ability to enjoy life has been challenged, to say the least.

And now Major League Baseball games have resumed? The unmitigated greed of team owners has infuriated me no end. By opening up to the ravages of the coronavirus, league officials have opted to risk the lives of players and ballpark staff to make a buck. Or billions.

The sport’s become fake, I tell you. Fans are not allowed at the games. Instead, cardboard cutouts sit in ballpark seats. The stadium would be eerily silent, if not for speakers pumping out crowd noise from games past. About a third of the games of a normal season will be played this year, and that’s only if there is no viral disaster.


And yet. While my politics are screaming don’t do it, my heart is tentatively whispering, "Play ball." All it took was one recent swing of a bat.

Watching the game on TV that night, I had whined all my complaints about the sport being altered almost beyond recognition, about greed, about players barely complying with restrictions. But I watched anyway. For over half a century I’ve held a deep abiding love of the game, and a diluted version was better than nothing.

The Giants had been down by four runs, but managed to tie the score at six apiece in the bottom of the eighth inning. They held the Padres scoreless in their half of the ninth, and then it was our turn to hit again.

To quote Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, "Mike Yastrzemski hit it high. He hit it deep. He hit it outta here!"

I didn’t mean to raise my arms triumphantly. Nor to yelp and send my cat skittering down the hall for cover. I didn’t mean to grin from ear to ear. Nor to revel in the players’ on-field celebration, socially distanced as it was. But I couldn’t help myself. It’s in my DNA as a fan to rejoice at victory.

There was true joy in Mudville that night. Just a glimmer gave me hope.

With a Perspective, I’m Linda Gebroe.

Linda Gebroe lives in San Francisco.