1901 is generally considered the start of modern baseball. And ever since that year, Major League Baseball has played its annual season of professional games. They've shortened the season a few times, and they've skipped the World Series twice (1904 and 1994). But for almost 120 years, baseball has refused to take a break. America's baseball players kept socking dingers through two world wars, one flu pandemic, several economic depressions, and all kinds of other situations that make enjoying a ballgame awfully tricky.

The 2020 season may or may not start play later this year. But either way, a few clever Chicago sportscasters have made history with a virtual approach to keeping things going. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt calls up Chicago White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti, to explore what it's like simulating a sports season that may never happen outside of his PlayStation 4. They'll also examine the weird way virtual sports can turn meaningful, discover how Taiwan resumed real baseball a week ago, and dig into sports' role as a canary in the coal mine of modern American society.

Footnotes

Jason Benetti on Twitter

How White Sox Play-By-Play Announcer Jason Benetti Got His Dream Job

MLB considering radical realignment for 2020 season: Grapefruit and Cactus leagues

Sources: MLB, union focused on plan that could allow season to start as early as May in Arizona

'Please, Danny, don't die on my watch': An oral history of a near-death in the dugout

Baseball Saw a Million More Empty Seats. Does It Matter?

MLB sees fan growth across the board in 2019

For first-years: How to survive a 'Cuse winter

Scott Gottlieb, MD/Twitter

Homer's Pennants/Reddit

Do you speak corona? A guide to covid-19 slang

MLB players, team employees participating in coronavirus study

Kyle Griffin/Twitter

"Maybe we'll bring the scream at the end to @whitesox baseball." Jason Benetti/Twitter

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