Patrick Murphy

It’s good to have sports back on television, but it sure looks different.

I have seen more empty seats and more cardboard cutouts of fans than I ever could have imagined.

Baseball is being played in front of cardboard images of fans, dogs, a donkey and actor Tom Hanks selling concessions at an Oakland A’s game, which was his first job.

The NBA started and is being played in front of players from other teams and holograms.

The NFL and college football teams are proceeding as if there will be games played, but whether fans will be allowed in stadiums is still up for discussion.

The landscape of sports, like the rest of the world, is out of sync.

We are in different times, unprecedented, and, hopefully, a once in a lifetime phenomena.

The silence in stadiums and arenas must be deafening to the players.

The roar of the crowd has been replaced by the voices of the players and coaches, the crack of the bat, the squeak of tennis shoes on the court and dribbling of the basketball.

Fans are regulated to their homes, tuning in on television, computers or phones.

Watching on television the games still seem the same.

The only difference is when the cameras pan around stadiums to show the empty seats.

I look at the cardboard cutouts, seeing who made goofy faces or how many dogs have become baseball fans.

The play on the field is the same. There are a few players who wear masks, and when they remember they avoid touching and give each other air high-fives. When they forget and the excitement takes over, they jump around and hug each other. For that moment they are just ballplayers celebrating a walk-off home run instead of thinking about catching coronavirus from one another.

It’s natural. We get caught up in the moment and forget there’s a worldwide pandemic killing us and social distancing is needed.

Fans, especially those of us who follow baseball, should be prepared for games being postponed or canceled as players, coaches and staff members test positive for COVID-19.

In Miami, the Marlins now have 18 positive COVID-19 cases out of the 30 players on the roster, which is 60 percent.

The Marlins have been sidelined for several days, which affects the teams they played and are scheduled to play.

Friday, the game between St. Louis and Milwaukee was postponed because two Cardinals tested positive.

This is our lives folks, and we better take it seriously.

There is no guarantee baseball will be able to finish its 60-game regular season and playoffs, and I wonder if they should even try.

There are no guarantees about anything these days. People love to say appreciate every day, it could be your last.

Well, that has never been more true. Wear masks, stay at least 6-feet apart and don’t go out unless necessary.

You really think all lives matter, act like it.

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