With no sports being played, we’ve been spending a lot of time looking back. Twitter feuds are being fought over the greatest team, season or stadium of all time. NESN and sports networks around the world are showing classic games and helping us relive those great moments.

What’s there to look forward to?

At some point, there will be games. And last week baseball hinted that it might not be anything like business as usual.

MLB and the MLBPA reached an agreement that covered a lot of ground like service time and payments in the case of a shortened or nonexistent 2020 season. It’s the nonexistent idea that scares us. We all want sports back sooner rather than later.

It will take some creativity to make that happen. And both sides indicated they are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Virtually everything is on the table at this point: shortened-game doubleheaders, games at neutral sites, and games played in empty ballparks.

It is highly unlikely this will be a 162-game season. One of the surprising bits of information to come from the agreement (although it is not specified in writing) is that baseball would like pick up the schedule where it stands when the time comes. That makes a lot of sense since the dates are saved and take into consideration travel needs and specific happenings in certain cities.

That’s where the doubleheaders could be important. If you are picking up the schedule as is, some teams will have to add games to even out the schedule, or add games against divisional opponents to even out the competitive balance of the schedule. Slapping on a second game to some of those dates makes it a lot easier to do that.

Additionally, there is more talk of playing games in empty ballparks. Athletes in all sports originally balked at this idea. But that was before we all sat around the house for weeks on end trying to find something to watch. Our national obsession with the Tiger King and Joe Exotic makes it clear that there would be a robust viewing audience for sports when they return. Even if there isn’t a crowd going wild at the stadium or ballpark.

“Players want to play,’’ MLBPA Chief Tony Clark told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “That’s what we do. Being able to get back on the field and being able to play, even if that means their fans are watching at home.”

That’s been the biggest difference since sports shut down three weeks ago. We now realize that sheltering-in-place makes us crave sports even more.

Of all professional sports, baseball has resisted change the most over the years. Embracing experimentation might allow the game to get back on the field sooner rather than later. We need the distraction now more than ever.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.


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