To Our Readers: Baseball Never Truly Leaves Us
Throughout February, we were deluged with “baseball’s back” messages.
We got them when the first major league spring training games began. But we also got them when the first whole-team workouts took place at big league camp. And we got them when the first pitchers and catchers reported. And we got them when NCAA Division I baseball played its first games.
“Baseball’s back. Spring is almost here. Get ready for the new season.”
But baseball was already back by then. Before D-I baseball began, Division II and Division III as well as NAIA and junior college ball had all gotten on the field.
But even they weren’t the start of baseball, because baseball had never left.
When those first games in the United States were being played, players were headed to the Caribbean Series after winter ball seasons had been played in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Australia was busy with its season as well. Many of those leagues got going before the Arizona Fall League and the Major League Baseball playoffs wrapped.
So whenever I read that “baseball’s back,” I chuckle to myself because it never truly goes away. It’s being played somewhere in games that matter 12 months a year. If you're a Baseball America reader, you know that.
The next time I hear that baseball's back, it will mean a lot more.
And I'm guessing it will for you, too. For the first time in my lifetime, and likely yours too, baseball has almost entirely gone away—no spring training, no D-I action—and we await its return.
If you’re a Baseball America reader—and especially if you are a subscriber—I am comfortable in saying that you’re missing baseball like I and the rest of the BA staff is missing it.
We love baseball. The reason you subscribe to BA is because you love it as well. You probably share that joy we had when we could first watch an interesting non-conference college baseball matchup this month or check out Wander Franco getting his first big league spring training at-bats.
Now it’s gone and we don’t know how long it will be before it’s back. Obviously, the suspension of baseball pales in comparison with the serious health risks associated with the novel coronavirus that has swept much of the world. But for us baseball fans, it is a real loss, and its return will be a sign that we’re edging back toward normalcy.
So what for now? Baseball America isn't going anywhere. Our office in Durham, N.C., is officially closed because of COVID-19 precautions, but we are checking our voice mail (800-845-2726) and monitoring our email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have a problem, we're still available. Everyone on our staff is working from home. But we’re still covering baseball at all levels from amateur to the major leagues to the Olympics.
The next month or months of this intermission will obviously be different than normal. In a typical year, this is the part of the year where we’re covering the college and high school seasons as they reach their crescendos. We would be tracking down prospects who have popped onto the radars of teams for the draft, and we would be getting as much information as we can on which prospects are riding high or raising concerns in the minors.
Without that, we’re going to continue to get everyone ready for the MLB draft, whether that’s for a June draft or a later one. We’re going to unpack the many, many complicated issues that arise from the cancellation of the NCAA college baseball seasons and the College World Series. And we’re going to preview the upcoming July 2 international signing period, where most of the scouting has already taken place.
But we’re also going to take this lull in game action to share the insights from inside baseball that help you understand the game you love even better.
We’re going to keep producing quality content through this baseball hiatus. And we thank you for being the loyal community that you are. I’ve talked to a number of you over the years who have proudly told me that you first subscribed to Baseball America in the early days of the publication, which dates back to February 1981. That means you were one of the originals who showed that Allan Simpson’s dream of covering all levels of baseball, including the the draft and player development, in a way it had never been covered before was a dream worth sharing.
I’ve talked to others of you who began reading Baseball America, like I did, in the late 1980s or early 1990s, whether it was because of Peter Gammons' voluminous notes columns or Top 10 Prospect lists or the Top 100 Prospects that first sucked you in.
And I’ve talked to others who have been reading for 10, 15 or 20 years. You’ve stuck with us through the many good times for baseball, but also through the bad. Some of you stuck with us—and with baseball—through a strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series. You may have been annoyed (or even angered) by the performance-enhancing drugs scandals of the 1990s and early 2000s, but you still kept on subscribing and reading.
This is another difficult time for baseball—and for the U.S. and the world. This is a time that will be written about in future history books. We will cover the ramifications of COVID-19 on baseball, but more than that, we plan to keep providing interesting baseball content to provide a respite from everything else that is going on.
We truly appreciate our loyal readership. As much as you do, we’re looking forward to the day we can be talking and writing about games on the field again, but we also plan to provide you with plenty of worthwhile content in the meantime.