Week one of the ICBL is in the books, with the next starting tonight. Below are my 5 observations from week one of baseball being played in the midst of a global pandemic, and the first live sporting event in the Capital Region in 4 months.

  • 1

    Wearing the mask..

    It's been a push for weeks to enforce everyone to wear a mask when not possible to maintain social distancing. That is what takes place in the ICBL, and the players follow the protocols, but it's 'different, and weird.'

    When the first basemen is holding the runner on — The mask comes on. We will see this is Major League Baseball when they return to play next week.

  • 2

    A different way to celebrate a walk-off..

    The ICBL saw the first walk-off win on Wednesday night when Chris Hamilton (Stony Brook) singled to right field to end the game. The whole team ran out into shallow right field to celebrate the win, but in a way, they've never celebrated before.

    All of the players surrounded Hamilton at a distance, throwing their hands up — Jazz hands esque.

  • 3

    A lot of rust..

    When the Albany Dutch took on the Amsterdam Mohawks in the first game of the ICBL season last Monday, there were a combined 20 walks issued, and 20 strikeouts recorded.

    Games will eventually become 'competitive', and we are close to getting to that point, but it will take time. Most of these players haven't played in a live baseball game since early March, while some since August 2019.

    The rust between the hitters and the pitchers is evident, but again these games will start becoming must-see games this week.

  • 4

    The fan experience..

    While there are no 'fans' allowed into the park, two family members, per player are allowed, along with dining reservations to the general public.

    The 'fan' experience is different. Once you enter the ballpark and seated, the only time you can leave your seat is to use the restroom, or leave the park (wearing a mask in mandatory in both cases).

    The concession stand is not open for walkup service, meaning 'fans' will be waited on in the stands. Not that bad, right? It's a luxury for fans at MLB parks in the first section, but in 2020 it may be the new normal — Front row, or last seat in the park.

  • 5

    It's for the love of the game — Nothing else

    Stats and standings are not being 'officially' recorded, no radar guns, 7-inning games no matter the score. If you asked a baseball traditionalist, these are not 'true' baseball games, but in the year 2020, the word 'traditional' does not exist.

    This summer is not about winning or playing in front of scouts for the players this summer. It's simply for the love of the game of baseball.

    Every single player on the 4 teams in the ICBL lost baseball for the first time in their lives — Seasons canceled, and MLB draft hopes placed on hold.

    For the first time in months, these players have hope. They finally have baseball back in their lives, and everyone involved is grateful to have it back.

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