Goldman: Can’t stick to sports: a return to normalcy

From SABR member Steven Goldman at Baseball Prospectus on April 2, 2020:

In 1920, Warren Harding, the president inbound after the dual scourges of the First World War and the Spanish Flu pandemic, campaigned on the need for a return to “normalcy.” Grammarians winced; the correct word was “normality,” but, in an early, benign version of Richard Nixon’s assertion that, “when the president does it, that means it’s not illegal,” normalcy won out. And so, as we await a containment of COVID-19, it’s not a return to normality, but normalcy that we anticipate. If only our careening, diffuse responses to the virus were as simple to resolve as a dispute over words, we might be able to anticipate the return of baseball, but we’ve fractured bigger things than our vocabulary, pushing the game further away in the process.

For those of us who love sports, the day of normalcy isn’t coming anytime soon, and possibly not the day after soon either. Due to the patchwork way the 50 states have reacted to the virus’ onslaught and the federal government’s feckless approach to testing, it’s difficult to project a time when it will be safe to sit in a ballpark with 30,000 or so of our sweating, sneezing, expectorating fellow citizens.

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Originally published: April 2, 2020. Last Updated: April 2, 2020.