The new Major League Baseball season opens this week without much fanfare or a great deal of excitement. Are you looking forward to baseball's return?

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
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Baseball has been through an awful lot the last few years, on and off the field, as have the fans. I'm not sure either the fans or the game are the same.

Cleveland Indians v Boston Red Sox
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The COVID-19 pandemic had an obvious impact on baseball and baseball fans. Baseball games were played in empty stadiums and then canceled. When play resumed, crowd size was limited, and fans were forced to keep a social distance between themselves and the few other fans in the mostly-empty stadiums.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
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Baseball was running into trouble with some fans before the pandemic, however. Games lasting three and four hours were too much to bear for today's fast-paced society. All of a sudden, baseball was boring. The game was too slow, and efforts to speed things up weren't working out so well.

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Many younger people turned to soccer, football, and basketball because they are faster and more action-packed than baseball.

Championship Series - Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox - Game Five
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Then there was the politics. Players and coaches were suddenly talking politics and refusing to represent their fans at the White House because they didn't like the occupants. Next, political slogans appeared on uniforms, stadium walls, and fields.

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America's pastime was turning into a cable network news program. Ugh!

Championship Series - Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox - Game Five
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I haven't watched a baseball game since the 2019 season and was looking forward to giving it another chance. Then the lockout hit, and millionaire owners and millionaire players were unable to settle their differences, forcing a delay to the start of the new season.

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The new baseball season begins tomorrow. I'll wear my Boston Red Sox hoodie and settle down with a book to watch Opening Day, but I can't guarantee the game still has the same hold on me it did just a few years ago.

2021 Red Sox Media Preview
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Are you pumped for the new baseball season? Who will you be rooting for?

LOOK: MLB history from the year you were born

Stacker compiled key moments from Major League Baseball's history over the past 100 years. Using a variety of sources from Major League Baseball (MLB) record books, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and audio and video from events, we've listed the iconic moments that shaped a sport and a nation. Read through to find out what happened in MLB history the year you were born.