Would Thanos' finger snap really have stopped baseball in its tracks?
During the Super Bowl on Sunday night, Marvel dropped its latest teaser for "Avengers: Endgame". Among other tidbits, the 30-second clip featured a quick shot of an abandoned Citi Field -- implying that baseball is in hibernation after the finger snap heard 'round the world. But would there really be no national pastime in a post-Thanos universe? Cut4 editor Dakota Gardner and writer Chris Landers are here to hash it out, point/counterpoint style.
Thanos could not possibly have ended baseball with his snap
by Dakota Gardner
If you saw the new "Avengers: Endgame" trailer during Sunday night's broadcast of the Super Bowl, you were probably shocked by one particularly indelible image from the ad: an empty, semi-post-apocalyptic Citi Field.
The implication here is that after archvillain Thanos successfully executed his plan of eliminating 50 percent of all life in the universe, the baseball season immediately came to halt -- never to be played again. The lights at the Mets' home are off, the field is overgrown and the parking lots are filled with seemingly abandoned cars.
If you look closely at the image, you'll see that the "Citi" ad on the left of the field's famous scoreboard has been torn away. If you look at the field, you'll see that it has become overgrown and looks abandoned. There's no way the stadium would fall into this level of disrepair in just a few weeks or even months. Clearly, baseball hasn't been played at Citi Field in some time.
Ask yourself this: Do you honestly believe baseball would simply stop if Thanos dusted half of all of MLB's players, managers, front office staff, stadium personnel and fans? Do you think that if the universe had been placed into an existential funk, that baseball wouldn't be even more necessary than it is today? Do you honestly believe that Alex Bregman or Clayton Kershaw or Mookie Betts, if they survived the snap, would be totally fine sitting on their butts and doing nothing for the rest of time?
Not a chance.
Yes, it would be very sad if half of every roster in MLB disappeared overnight. But, presumably there would still be 50 percent of each team's Minor League Baseball system still around, and couldn't they fill the gaps while the Avengers attempt to defeat Thanos once and for all? We'd miss the dusted superstars, and it's not like the games would immediately resume the next day, but do we really think no one would pick up a baseball ever again? Come on.
Nothing can stop baseball. It has been around for over a century, continuing even when the world itself was at war. When things are uncertain, the escape of baseball is even more alluring. Thanos can't change that fact -- particularly since there's one player we know would survive the snap. And next time, he's probably not going to go for the chest:
Yes, he definitely could have
by Chris Landers
Look, I would love to buy what my colleague/esteemed Marvel doctoral student is selling. In addition to being profoundly weirded out by Thanos' clam chin, I grew up a Yankees fan in New Jersey, and I know all about baseball's perseverance and power in difficult times.
But I am unswayed by Dakota's appeal to our heartstrings. My argument is not one of fickle passion or emotion, but one of facts. And the facts lead us to only one possible conclusion: Thanos won, and the 2018 Major League season needs to take the L on this one.
Let's start with what we know. As Dakota mentions, the Citi Field that we catch a glimpse of in the Endgame teaser is a barren wasteland. Clearly, no one's set foot there in months, maybe longer. Which makes perfect sense: The stadium is empty, but the parking lot outside is still full, which suggests that Thanos' snap happened in the middle of a game. If half the world's population disappeared the last time people set foot in your ballpark, why would anyone be itching to go back? We look to baseball as a distraction, but in this case, the sport is inextricably intertwined with the tragedy in question.
And that's before we even consider all of the other ramifications of baseball existing in Endgame's universe. While we don't know exactly when the events in Infinity War take place, we know that the year is 2018 -- and with a little digging, we can make some educated guesses as to the date. Here's a screenshot taken from the newscast Vision and Scarlet Witch are watching in Scotland early in the film:
Admittedly, it's hard to make out, but it sure looks like that graphic in the top right reads "Tuesday July 27". Thanos' snap takes place the next day, which means that half the world's population (and, presumably, around half of all Major League rosters, front offices and staff) disappeared on July 28 -- i.e., more than halfway through the regular season and just a couple days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Even if society managed to recover from that trauma, think of the logistics! Executive roles would have to be reassigned, rosters would have to be filled out and stadiums would have to be adequately staffed ... all in a matter of weeks, if we have any hope of playing the postseason. To say nothing of the other concerns and time commitments that pop up in recovering from a world-historical trauma. Giancarlo Stanton is the closest thing we have to a literal Avenger -- he'd probably be best used in the effort to defeat Thanos.
I believe that, in time, the lights would come on at Citi Field yet again. Baseball is Americana, certainty itself; the country would rebuild, and it would want its national pastime right there along with it. Besides, while Mookie Betts would probably pivot seamlessly into a career as a Hall of Fame bowler, Yasiel Puig wouldn't rest until he was playing baseball again. Just not this year, or anytime soon.