Our View: Baseball’s a safe choice

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Our View: Baseball’s a safe choice
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Up until recently, cases of COVID-19 have dropped sharply, and there has been a fascinating range of responses. Today’s page 1 story, “Breaking down barriers,” reveals that almost 70% of adults in Alexandria have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Some people, two weeks removed from their second vaccine dose, have largely resumed their normal range of activities. They go into stores, to the movies and attend concerts and sporting events maskless.

For these people, the transition back to a close approximation of their normal lives has been seamless. Indeed, after a year of lockdowns and restrictions of varying types, the wonder is how quickly life has returned to normal. They have instinctively picked up life where it left off in early 2020.

For others, even if fully vaccinated, life is still much more restricted. Underlying health conditions, of themselves or a family member, require continued caution. While they may venture to an outdoor meal or concert, these folks are not yet comfortable attending an indoor event. For these people, the risk/reward calculation still factors into each decision they make about outings and potential activities.

The still unvaccinated fall into two groups: those who would like to get the vaccine but are prevented from getting it for health reasons, and the much larger group of people who have eschewed the COVID-19 vaccine because of distrust – of government, of vaccines in general, or the COVID-19 vaccine in particular – or as a political statement or simply out of some contrarian impulse.

Those remaining unvaccinated by choice also seem to have been more likely to resist mask wearing, though this is based more on observation than data. Unfortunately, people in this category are primarily endangering themselves, their families and friends in the short run. In the long run, large numbers of unvaccinated people threaten to lengthen the pandemic and deepen its deadly toll as they enable the virus to develop ever more contagious, and potentially deadly, variants.

For the vaccinated, few available activities are safer than attending outdoor sporting events, and in the summertime in the United States, that’s primarily baseball. Baseball is mostly played outdoors at all levels. The Washington Nationals, just one season removed from their World Series championship, remain a scrappy, never-say-die group, even if injuries and roster turnover has left them with a mediocre record and a middle-of-the-pack standing in the league. They’re fun to watch most games.

Locally, our Alexandria Aces, headed by new majority owner Frank Fannon, provide a high-quality amateur baseball experience, as teams in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League play with wooden bats, just like their Major League counterparts. Aces games are fun, inexpensive and easy to get to. Check out our other front page story in today’s Times, “Aces blaze into playoffs,” for an update on the Aces’ season. A hint: They’re doing well.

And, of course, there’s the Alexandria Little League, playing a full schedule this year. You don’t have to be a parent or friend of a player to stop by a field and take in a game.

Those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t have different calculations to make about what activities are safe to attend. We recommend getting a vaccine if you haven’t yet and remaining cautious in crowded indoor settings – i.e. wear a mask – even if you have.

Taking in a baseball game may be your safest entertainment bet this summer either way.

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