Let’s not repeat this on the Fourth of July
Memorial Day felt surreal this year for a number of obvious reasons, but the lack of baseball to watch while you flipped burgers may have flown under the radar. While the rhythm of baseball’s usual daily presence can make it blend into the background in normal years, its continued absence has similarly become an expected part of our lives. So you can be forgiven for not realizing you should have been watching baseball all afternoon yesterday.
The lack of big league games was historic, though. It was the first time since 1880 that there were no major league games on Memorial Day.
The last time there was no baseball on Memorial Day, it wasn’t even called Memorial Day. We were still calling it “Decoration Day” (the holiday has its roots as a day for decorating the graves of fallen soldiers). The Grand Army of the Republic first suggested calling the holiday “Memorial Day” in 1882.
The last Memorial Day without baseball came 21 years before the founding of the American League, back when the National League had teams in Providence, Worcester and Troy. Old Hoss Radbourn, the Hall of Fame pitcher who once threw 73 complete games in a single season and later inspired a great Twitter account, played his first big league season that year—but only as an outfielder and first baseman with a dismal batting line. There were players that year nicknamed Orator Shafer, Tricky Nichols, Chub Sullivan, Dude Esterbrook and Buttercup Dickerson.
So yeah, it was a long time ago.
Memorial Day baseball survived two world wars and numerous labor disputes between players and owners. It took a global health emergency to shut it down.
But baseball will come back—perhaps in time for the Fourth of July—and when it does, no one will take holiday games for granted.
The best of SI
Tom Verducci spoke with Vin Scully about the return of baseball. ... The Tiger-Peyton—Phil-Tom match reminds us what golf is all about. ... Bruno Caboclo, famously deemed “four years away,” is still searching for stardom six years later.
Around the sports world
Dayn Perry of CBS Sports has a nice rundown of great Memorial Day baseball moments. ... A 20-year-old Special Olympian is training to become the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon. ... A minor league baseball team put its stadium on Airbnb, and it’s already booked solid. ... Former NFL head coach Mike Singletary has resigned from his job coaching a Texas high school team after winning just one game in two years.
A ton of people watched the Brady-Mickelson—Peyton-Tiger match
How to hit a chip shot, according to Phil
More evidence Peyton Manning is actually funny
(I wrote about Peyton’s TV evolution last week.)
Eli Manning joined Twitter just to do sponsored tweets during the Match for a hot sauce company, which is hilarious because there’s no way Eli eats anything spicier than black pepper
He wanted all of that one—and he got it
I’d learn to skate just to lace them up here
An earthquake hit while New Zealand’s prime minister was on live TV, and she barely batted an eye. ... A heartwarming and widely viewed ad for Facebook was filled with fake posts in nonexistent groups. ... The remains of 60 mammoths were discovered during construction of an airport in Mexico.
You done goofed
Uncut Gems just became available on Netflix, and if you haven’t seen it yet you need to rectify that ASAP
Remote-controlled plane hits 500 mph
Please let the pope do this
A good song
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