The Uncanny Return of Major League Baseball

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On Thursday night, Major League Baseball held its surreal opening day almost four months after the slated season debut on March 26. The night began in Washington, D.C., where the reigning-champion Nationals hosted the New York Yankees in front of an empty stadium.

Even before the game started, the intensity of the past few months was apparent on the field. On the pitcher’s mound, the league’s usual logo was underscored by a notable reversal of the MLB’s letters:

On the field on which President Trump was booed at the World Series last October, Dr. Anthony Fauci threw out an imperfect first pitch:

Shortly after, players on both teams kneeled before the national anthem was played:

Naturally, the first major sports game to return amid the pandemic couldn’t go off without a little interruption: In the sixth inning, a downpour caused a delay that eventually resulted in a called 4-1 Yankees win over the Nationals. For the second game of the night — a Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants matchup in L.A. — rain was not in the forecast. And unlike the empty Nationals Park, Dodger Stadium was filled with bubble-head cutouts in the first few rows to eerily simulate the crowd.

While players for the Dodgers and Giants both kneeled before the national anthem, all-star outfielder Mookie Betts took a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The president also had a sportive day: In addition to an interview with the Trump-friendly Barstool Sports, he was seen on the White House lawn showing off his baseball talents:

The Uncanny Return of Major League Baseball