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

Chicago White Sox vs Seattle Mariners: MLB The Show simulation game - NBC Sports Chicago

White Sox Nick Madrigal makes simulated debut vs. Rangers - MLB The Show - NBC Sports Chicago

Coronavirus: Revisiting other disrupted MLB seasons with baseball on hold in 2020

Baseball strike in 1994-95 began 25 years ago

How America's Newspapers Covered Up a Pandemic

Lucas Giolito/Baseball-Reference.com

MLB The Show Players Tournament

"First message tonight comes from someone in the Giolito Twitch chat last night." Jason Benetti/Twitter

Lucas Giolito/Twitter

Rudy Gobert/Basketball-Reference.com

Rudy Gobert wished he had taken the coronavirus 'more seriously'

Rudy Gobert trying to salvage Donovan Mitchell friendship amid coronavirus fallout

Baseball is back -- in Taiwan

Chinese Professional Baseball League team will have robot mannequins fill in as fans at games

The White Sox Will Be Announcing Simulated Games And It Could Be Hilarious

2020 MLB Simulated Season Summary

'MLB The Show' Players League: How to watch, live stream, standings, dates, schedule, results

Major League Baseball and players' union agree on terms for return of 2020 season

MLB teams commit $30 million to support ballpark employees

Bulls, Blackhawks owners will pay United Center workers during suspension of seasons

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

1 Way To Make An Emoji podcast

1 Way To Make An Emoji Preview

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