A great way to follow baseball through a Chicago summer is to dip in and dip out, to come and go.
We might listen to a game on the radio outdoors, after mowing the lawn or while walking the dog. We might slip back inside to catch a big moment on TV.
Baseball’s our summer soundtrack, our daily diversion, our companion.
This summer, baseball has been a little less of all that, due to a shortened season and an eerie emptiness at ballparks because of the pandemic. But the game has also meant all the more to us for just the same reason.
We are stuck at home. We are stuck in our lives. We can’t do this and we can’t do that. A Saturday is not much different than a Wednesday when there is no weekend concert, no getting together with friends at a restaurant, no family gathering.
But there is baseball. And here in Chicago, the baseball’s been good — and it’s not over yet.
Come to think of it, a 2-0 Bears team doesn’t hurt, either.
But back to our national pastime. The White Sox last week clinched an appearance in the postseason, for the first time since 2008, and the Cubs are looking good to get there, too. Both teams have lifted our spirits just by playing good ball — and by coping with the pandemic more or less responsibly.
Ballplayers are not naturally big on social distancing. These are guys who pat each other on the butt. But Major League Baseball set out the rules and the Cubs and the Sox have been pretty good about following them, except when the players mob each, like after Alec Mills of the Cubs threw a no-hitter.
On July 5, two Sox players tested positive for COVID-19 and were pulled from the lineup. Nobody beefed.
On July 27, Sox Manager Rick Renteria was quarantined after waking up that morning feeling crummy. Nobody rolled their eyes.
On July 28, Renteria returned to his team after his coronavirus test came back negative. Excellent for him and the Sox.
On Aug. 17, the Sox played the St. Louis Cardinals here but turned away reporters from St. Louis. Mayor Lori Lightfoot had put Missouri on a list of states from which travelers to the city must quarantine for 14 days. So be it.
Thanks for the lift in tough times, gentlemen.
And if you get deep into the playoffs, as we expect you will, you can bet that thousands of Chicago school kids will play hooky to see you play. All they’ll have to do is slip into the next room at home.
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