Teammates mob Reading’s Brian Pointer after his home run won the 2015 Eastern League All-Star Game at Portland’s Hadlock Field. The game was decided by a home run derby after being tied after nine innings. Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Over the past few days, many of us celebrated Easter or Passover. It was a perfectly timed highlight in the endless blur of days and nights that is Spring 2020.

As we imagine what it will be like when we slowly resume some sort of normal life, leagues try to imagine how they can speed up the process of bringing games back to entertain America.

Baseball is hoping to lead the way toward that end. The sport has far less contact than the other major American sports, and has the advantage of being able to start a season when it returns. Basketball and hockey have the challenge of trying to finish a season and roll into the playoffs while still having some sort of offseason before the fall.

Baseball’s return would be a boost for the psyche of the nation, even if played in empty ballparks. Watching a game would give us something to do communally, even if we do it from the isolation of our homes. And there are the financial implications for the sport. Forbes magazine reported that Major League Baseball took in more than $10 billion in baseball-related revenues last year.

That’s why we’ve seen outside-the-box suggestions of games being played in Arizona, Florida and even Japan. It’s no longer about getting a normal season underway. It’s about getting back to work, and getting America back in the habit of watching sports.

It will take bold ideas to make it happen sooner rather than later. No idea is too outrageous on first blush. Seven-inning doubleheaders, league-wide use of the designated hitter, and neutral-site playoff games are all on the table.

Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw another idea in the mix late last month. He suggested games tied after the 10th inning should be decided by a home run derby. His reasoning was that a shortened season with fewer days off and doubleheaders added could not afford the occasional 17-inning battle. Such games would wipe out pitching staffs and lead to players needing time off to recover – something they’d have trouble finding in that schedule.

Not sure if Turner was watching at the time, but Hadlock Field was the site of one of the only home run derbies to ever settle a professional game. It was the 2015 Eastern League All-Star Game, hosted by the Portland Sea Dogs, and the decision was made to settle it via a derby if the game was tied at the end of nine innings.

Sure enough, it was 4-4 after nine. Out came the screen, coaches started warming up to throw batting practice, and the derby was on.

Three players were chosen from each side, with one swing apiece. It was essentially a hockey shootout on a baseball diamond. Both teams came out on the foul lines and cheered their batters on.

Three rounds came and went without a homer. Ten rounds came and went, too. By then the drama had built to a point where players were screaming and shouting with each swing of the bat.

Finally, in the 11th round, Brian Pointer of the Reading Fightin Phils ended the game with the walk-off shot. His teammates erupted and celebrated on the field.

It was one of the most unexpected, and electric, moments I’ve ever called in nearly 25 years on NESN. The exhilaration of that moment far superseded the monotony that can often go into long, scoreless extra-innings games.

And that type of jolt is exactly what baseball – and the country – could use in the months ahead.  Let people argue the merits of ending a game with a gimmick. That’s great. We’ll be talking about baseball again.

And right now, anytime we can talk about something other than a pandemic is a step in the right direction.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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