Major League Baseball, like many sports leagues around the world, has been shut down indefinitely because of the growing threat that is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Spring training has been suspended and Opening Day has been pushed back to at least mid-May, and that remains subject to change as the situation develops.
Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully who, like most of us, is hunkered down at home self-isolating spoke to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times about the outbreak. He and his wife Sandi have been watching movies and seeing their children -- "There's no hugging and kissing and nothing like that," he said -- to pass the time. Scully joked self-isolation isn't all that different from retired life.
As he did during his 67 years in the broadcast booth, Scully focused on the good during his chat with Plaschke rather than all the terrible things going on in the world. He grew up during the Great Depression and lived through World War II, and he believes we will get through the COVID-19 pandemic:
"Among other things I remember my mother would feed me something that would fill me up and didn't cost very much, I remember having pancakes for dinner and a lot of spaghetti," he says. "We didn't have any money anyway … meat was hard to come by … we bit the bullet."
But then, he says, "From depths of depression we fought our way through World War II, and if we can do that, we can certainly fight through this. I remember how happy and relieved and thrilled everybody was … when they signed the treaty with Japan, and the country just danced from one way or another. It's the life of the world, the ups and downs, this is a down, we're going to have to realistically accept it at what it is and we'll get out of it, that's all there is to it, we will definitely get out of it."
Scully also said he thinks "people are especially jumping at the opportunity to help each other, I believe that's true, so that's kind of heartwarming." That can be hard to see when people are hoarding and fighting over toilet paper, but there are always going to be a few bad apples, and most folks are doing what they can help. Just staying home is a way of helping others.
For my money, there was no better way to unwind after a long day than listening to Scully call a late night West Coast games. His broadcasts were always calm and comforting. What we're going through right now is unprecedented, but people like Scully have been through the unprecedented before, and it's comforting to hear him say we can get through these awful times.