By Patrick Murphy

Catchers mitts are popping, and that’s a good thing.

Baseball players have flocked to Arizona and Florida to get ready for the baseball season, which makes me happy.

Every year the beginning of spring training makes me feel good because baseball season is returning.

However, this year my enthusiasm comes with some trepidation brought on by the lingering coronavirus.

I wonder how many players and games will be lost to the virus.

Will key players miss large chunks of time, impacting their team’s season?

Will teams have to postpone and reschedule games?

Will they be able to make up those games?

Already, the Toronto Bluejays have announced their first several home games will be played in Dunedin, Fla., because of travel restrictions between the United State and Canada.

The cloud of the coronavius hangs over all of us in every phase of life, and sports are being played as best as they can.

That being said, it’s great baseball is back, and its return always makes me think back to the beauty of the game, and in particular watching my son play.

Years ago, when I was chasing Alek from ballpark to ballpark, we were well into winter training and practices by this time of the year.

I remember heading to an indoor arena on evenings in January and February as he and his teammates prepared for the season.

Hitters hit, pitchers pitched, catchers caught, infielders fielded and outfielders chased fly balls, and I looked forward to watching practices almost as much as the games.

It was cold in this old building, and I couldn’t wait until the days of sun and warm weather, but it was still baseball.

The cold building didn’t matter though, it was baseball season, and I was watching Alek.

The games mean a lot more when you’re watching your kid play, and I looked forward to his season almost as much as he did.

It’s funny when you’re a parent, everything is measured by your kids. 

The calendar is marked up with what they are doing, and schedules are made based on their events.

Our family vacations were really just traveling to out-of-state tournaments, and we were OK with that.

Fast forward, and those baseball seasons are over for us; we have been replaced by other players and their families having the same experiences and creating the same memories we did.

But baseball endures. Players, teams, managers, they all come and go.

Babe Ruth retired and the game goes on, Jackie Robinson made history, and my hero, Reggie Jackson, retired, yet the game marches on. 

Today’s players will some day hang up their spikes, only to be replaced by some kid who’s playing catch with his dad right now.

The baseball world keeps spinning, and some how, some way, despite the coronavirus, it’ll keep spinning for those who love the game.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.