Stark: It was just a normal spring — until it wasn’t

From SABR member Jayson Stark at The Athletic on March 12, 2020:

Just 12 days ago, I sat down to lunch, at a ballpark in Florida, with a scout friend. It was the first day of Grapefruit League life for both of us. He told me his wife worked at a hospital that was already gearing up for the coronavirus crisis. He said she’d given him this warning:

“In two weeks, all hell is going to break loose.”

He sat there at lunch with a bottle of Purell next to his plate. I showed him the pack of germ-killing wipes I’d brought with me. Eventually, we eased into that thing we do most – talking about baseball, a game we love that has provided us with a life we love. But I couldn’t get his words out of my head.

“In two weeks, all hell is going to break loose.”

It’s now 12 days later. Not one day went by when I didn’t hear those words playing on a continuous loop in my brain. I kept wondering when it would dawn on everyone around us that things were not normal, that this spring training was not normal, that the 2020 baseball season was going to be anything but normal.

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Originally published: March 12, 2020. Last Updated: March 12, 2020.