NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- It's supposed to be the day of new beginnings for baseball fans nationwide, but Major League Baseball's Opening Day is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I never imagined not only that it would come to this, but we don't know what the end-game is," said Howie Rose, the radio voice of the New York Mets on WCBS 880's In Depth podcast.
Typically, millions of Americans who have renewed optimism funnel into stadiums nationwide to take in the sights of the freshly cut grass and painted team logo on the field, smell of hot dogs and rich ballpark food, enjoy the taste of a cold beer, embrace family, friends and fellow fans, and get goosebumps at the sounds of the pop of the glove, crack of the bat and Rose's voice bellowing through the Citi Field public address system as he announces the Mets Opening Day lineup.
But, this is no typical year.
"This is something that a Michael Crichton novel might have been be able to forecast, but apart from that, it's nothing that we ever could have prepared for," Rose said regarding businesses, sports, restaurants and all group activities being shut down amid the national health crisis.
He has been taking the extra time to read at his home in Florida. A bit of a history buff, Rose is currently reading "Button Man," a historical fiction novel written by Andrew Gross about a Jewish family brought together at the inception of the garment business in New York City in the 1930s.
"If anybody's got any suggestions, throw 'em my way because, as we know, plenty of time to catch up on reading," he said.
Rose recognizes baseball is not the priority for the country or the world battling a novel virus that has killed tens of thousands of people globally.
"Never mind the health risks and the primary concern being everybody's physical condition, but how long is it going to be before we can return to any semblance of normalcy?" he pondered. "When does it mean that we have a baseball season, if we have a baseball season? My hope is that we will and my opinion is that any size or any length season is acceptable."
Rose tells WCBS 880 his "fantasy" is that the COVID-19 pandemic will pass as quickly as it hit, and fans can come together as a nation on the country's birthday, the 4th of July, to celebrate, and more than ever, reflect on the freedoms Americans are fortunate to have.
His famous call of Mike Piazza's home run in the first game back in New York after 9/11 has brought joy to Mets fans in helping the City heal. When asked if America's Pastime can once again provide respite during a fearful time, Rose said, "I have never been so sure of anything in my life as I am of that."