FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Usually, baseball and Fourth of July go hand-in-hand for many fans. However, that won’t happen this year.
With Major League Baseball starting its 2020 season at the end of this month, and Minor League Baseball canceling its season altogether, many baseball fans won’t be able to participate in the popular tradition of catching America’s Pastime on America’s birthday.
Usually, the Fourth of July is as important to the teams as it is to the fans.
“It’s the biggest day of the year because normally you get your biggest crowd for the holiday,” said Mike Maahs, a radio broadcaster for the Fort Wayne Tincaps, a minor league affiliate of the San Diego Padres. “Baseball and Fourth of July are great because the fans can put all the cares of the world behind them, at least for a short period of time, and they can enjoy some genuine happiness. That’s what this country needs right now, and to not be able to have fun this coming Saturday, it hurts.”
Maahs says this will be the first time in his time as a broadcaster for the team, which started in 2003, that he isn’t going to be doing a game on the Fourth of July.
2020 was supposed to be his 17th year covering Fort Wayne. Instead, the season never started in April, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Minor League Baseball made the official announcement that there would not be a season at all this year.
For someone who has been doing sports broadcasting for 31 years, it’s been a strange, tough adjustment.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH MIKE MAAHS:
“When you are used to doing something for so long, you go through the same procedure, getting ready for a broadcast. Well, there is no broadcast to get ready for,” Maahs said. “Life is different. You can’t go into the office. You can’t go to the ballpark. So life, all of a sudden, is different. And you can’t do what you have done in the past, or what you would like to continue doing.”
Not only has it already been tough in the first half of the year. The second half might be even tougher, depending on the future of college athletics. When Maahs isn’t doing minor league baseball in the summer, the rest of the year, he’s broadcasting sports for Purdue University Fort Wayne.
“I have no income from the Tincaps this year,” Maahs said. “My Purdue Fort Wayne income got stopped in early March, and there’s no guess as to when that’s going to continue. We don’t know. Thank God for Social Security, because truthfully, that’s how I’m surviving.”
Through all the struggles and uncertainty, Maahs remains hopeful and continues to focus on the positives of not broadcasting 140 baseball games in 152 days. That includes spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, that he normally doesn’t get during the summers.
One of his favorite things to do?
“Wait until my son gets off work, usually at 11:30 at night, go drive to different places around Fort Wayne, stop at a ‘Mickey D’s’ and grab a drink, and have a good time.”
With that positivity, Maahs says it always could be worse.
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