As my wife and I were raising our family, our vacations primarily consisted of a week in Ocean City and an occasional “big” trip such as Disney or New England. Since we have retired, we very much enjoy traveling each year around our nation and occasionally other countries. Twice, we have flown to Europe and experienced river cruising with Viking. Last year, we explored the Four Corners area of America, visiting seven national parks. Usually, around October of each year, I begin to scroll through our Rand McNally atlas to indulge our wanderlust and think about destinations that would make a great vacation. I try to coordinate our trips in the United States with a baseball park on the itinerary.

This year, baseball and Viking were both on our travel plans. It has been five years since we have been to Baltimore Orioles spring training in Sarasota. So with the “Baby Birds” helping to rebuild the team, we decided to see the Orioles rework in progress. This year was to be a great travel year as we planned both spring training and a Viking ocean cruise to Italy. Needless to say, Baltimore Orioles spring training struck out, and the Viking cruise around Italy is in the bottom of the ninth, two outs, a three-two count and Mariano Rivera pitching.

We decided to cancel our Sarasota trip more than a week before our scheduled departure. We had not canceled our baseball tickets when Major League Baseball acted first. Our refunds are already on the way. Though relatively painless dealing with Southwest and Holiday Inn, it was depressing knowing we would not make the Twin Lakes practice fields, Ed Smith Stadium and Captain Curt’s Restaurant. My wife is always very organized. We were already packed and ready to go. Today, the unpacking is disheartening. Based on the present state of affairs in Italy, our Viking trip later this year is almost certain to become void. My wife and I are disappointed that we will miss a year of travel. But we are lucky.

To many, COVID-19 means loss of income, and to some, it will mean a loss of life. Our nation will most likely suffer a significant number of citizens stricken with COVID-19. Drastic measures have been implemented to help “flatten the curve” to avoid a medical catastrophe with our health care system. If the measures are not enforced, the outbreak will certainly expand exponentially, potentially having a disastrous effect on our country. One such outbreak of a relatively “new” virus strain in our country just over 100 years ago demonstrates the need to be aggressive with the “new” deadly virus strain today.

The 1918 H1N1 “Spanish flu” outbreak was estimated to have killed more than 600,000 in the United States alone. Since that time, the population of our country has grown by tens of millions and mobility of our citizens has condensed our country. Our scientific and medical communities have developed the methodology to help curtail a massive outbreak like those that have happened in the past. We all know the actions limiting travel, canceling schools, eliminating most assembly and closing some businesses will be a tremendous burden. But the health and welfare of our nation are the priority.

So, here we are, the first weekend of no baseball, no basketball, no football, no soccer, no golf, no bowling, no NASCAR, no curling or live sports of any kind on television. I fondly remember the days of a very few black-and-white Orioles games on TV. Growing up, I would look forward to Chuck Thompson doing play-by-play on a rare televised Orioles game, a real treat.

We have become numb to an almost constant explosion of live sports programs nearly every evening and weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching certain sports, especially baseball. In fact, I didn’t realize how much I actually watched sports until the live TV sports blackout. To help “flatten the curve,” our fast-paced lives have just been downshifted to neutral.

Clarence “Chip” Jewell is a Frederick native. He and his wife, Kathy, are lifelong Orioles fans and enjoy visiting baseball parks during their travels around the country.

(8) comments


There is more to life than SPORTS. Let those ball players go out and get a hourly job for a change......


But what about all the civil rights advances. You sound privileged.

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Greg F cannot catch a heart attack, cancer or obesity from others. This is a community spread virus that can stay on surfaces 2+ weeks (just learned about on those cruise ships) and is partially airborne. We don't need everyone congregating around passing it on like is being done yet all around (i.e.; Louisiana pastor still calling for and congregating huge masses or spring breakers partying on beaches or crowds mingling at the cherry blossoms). You seem to not realize that the t-man only wants to keep restrictions down to help keep his own businesses (hotels, golf courses, resorts) open and profitable, right? That and his recent behavior is that of a completely uninformed person that purposefully ignores the advice of some of the best minds in the field for his own glory and ego. That's what really makes me wonder.....wonder how people can still follow that sort of mantra and willful stupidity.

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Hyped up virus? So far this season there have been 38 million people infected with the Flu in the US. There have been 23,000 deaths and as many as 20 million that have required hospitalization. This Corona virus is potentially far more dangerous/ It is highly contagious. It has a long incubation period where infected, asymptomatic people can infect others. And to date no treatment or vaccines exist to help those who are severely ill or to stop the spread.

I pray in a few weeks there will be more people saying it was a hyped up virus. Let us pray it's devastating potential has been drastically reduced by our extraordinary efforts to flatten the curve. Let us pray/

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