As promised, here is a collected stream of Amanda’s three-part series examining the intersection of the flu pandemic and baseball in Seattle in 1918. Amanda conducted months of research to create this picture of what life was like in Seattle right after the turn of the century, the impending disaster of what was commonly called the Spanish Flu, and the role baseball played in the everyday life of citizens. It’s a particularly Seattle story, with its maritime emphasis on the shipyard teams and an iconoclastic spirit that runs throughout the piece. It’s also a story that, sadly, has many parallels to our current situation, from failed efforts to contain the virus to the economic impact the twin stressors of the war and the pandemic had on the landscape of baseball.
We don’t, at the time of this writing, know how the 2020 season will turn out. For every day that the majority of baseball seems to go about business as usual there is a positive test or a suspended series and a reminder that all of this could, in an instant, disappear. It’s a scary and unsure place to be, and even a century later, for all our technological advancements we are still, just like our compatriots in 1918, at the mercy of this virus. But we share another thing with the Seattle citizenry of 1918: a love for baseball and the ability to escape away into nine innings of twirlers and gardeners and the sound of bat meeting ball, a connection that stretches across the centuries, across uncertainties.