S. Burlington Friday, March 27th
Two weeks ago, Major League Baseball announced the suspension of the rest of spring training, as well as the start of the MLB regular season. As Opening Day came and went with empty stadiums and no games, fans everywhere felt the absence. Including someone as closely tied to the game as longtime NESN Red Sox studio host Tom Caron.
"Opening Day has always been a special day. When I was a kid growing up in Maine it was a day my parents would let me take off from school.", said Caron. "And now, this would have been my nineteenth year as part of the Red Sox broadcast. I get it, how unimportant it is in the bigger picture of what's going on in the world right now, and yet how badly we could use the distraction."
When that distraction will return is anyone's guess. The MLB commissioner said this week he's 'optimistic' the season could begin in June. But what would it look like?
Caron says there could be two double headers a week, with each game just seven innings to help play the maximum number of games...possibly playing games at spring training sites to cut down on travel...expanded playoffs and more. All options on the table. While it would all be a response to this unique situation, Caron says it could also be an opportunity.
"There have been so many discussions about changes for baseball, to speed up the game.", said Caron. "I think all of that is on the table for this experimental season, and then I think you'll be able to look at what works and what doesn't and maybe keep some of it going forward."
And when baseball returns, what about the Red Sox. With Mookie Betts and David Price traded and Chis Sale out with elbow surgery, what does Caron will the Sox look like when they eventually take the field?
"This is a team that should still have enough offense to score runs, be competitive and, I think, be in the hunt for a Wild Card. But the starting pitching is a head scratcher right now. The bullpen is good, the offense is good, but we have no idea who is going to be the starting pitcher for some of these games."
Closer to home, the summer seasons of youth and teen leagues like Legion baseball or Little League remain on hold as well.
And as for high schools, in the wake of Governor Scott's decision to keep schools closed for the remainder of the school year for in person instruction, the Vermont Principals' Association sent a memo to schools Friday saying, as of Friday, the VPA was not prepared to cancel the spring season. It will remain, for now, suspended, but that could certainly change.