I’ll miss the baseball season – the regular season, I mean.
Of course, the impending post-season is what gives the electricity to these desparate hours, like the Yankees' and Orioles' 162nd games.
I’m not crazy about the one-game format looming for two wild-card teams. This means a team could win over 90 games, be in division contention all year, and have to throw a weary or marginal starter in a one-game shootout.
As Ken Singleton was saying on the Yankee broadcast Tuesday night, an entire season could depend on circumstance – a ball lost in the sun, something like that
What’s your opinion?
Then again, seasons end abruptly anyway. On Tuesday I was with a group of Red Sox fans called the Blohards, who hold occasional meetings in New York to celebrate or mourn. Funny how the names Dent and Boone keep coming up.
I told them, hey, my team went away. And my childhood was spent watching Richie Ashburn throwing Cal Abrams out at home and Bobby Thomson hitting that home run, exactly 61 years ago on Wednesday, but who’s keeping track?
Yes, I can remember exactly where I was. Where were you for Thomson or Dent or Boone or some other autumnal event?
I also remember Red Barber talking Dodger fans off the ledge a year earlier, in 1950, after Dick Sisler’s home run put us into deep misery. His words were like those of a speaker at a funeral service, finding hope. We cannot always win; things come to an end, The Old Redhead said in his eulogy. I think of him every time a season ends the way the Mets’ season is ending.
I told the Blohards: remember what Brooklyn fans said: Wait til next year. But they seem to suspect next year has come and gone for a while.
I will miss the regularity of baseball, the prosaic daily quality.
Whenever I got frustrated with the yakkers and the commercials on television, I could flick to the ball game and find good old Derek Jeter, inside-outing a double to right, or good old David Wright, paddling against the tide.
On Tuesday night, there was a late-season cameo, the appearance of Adam Greenberg, who was hit in the head by a pitch seven years ago and got to swing for Miami – against R.A. Dickey. The scene of the Marlins pummeling him in the dugout after his three-pitch strikeout made me choke up. My guess is that every one of those guys understood the fragility of a career.
How did you react to the gesture by the Marlins?
I hate the idea of a season going away, even another wretched Met season. It is foggy in New York Wednesday morning. The regular season is going away, to be replaced by the post-season, plus the short debate season that signals the end of the American silly season, the long and expensive march to elections.
I’m looking forward to the result, to moving on, but I could do without a lot of the foolishness. The regular baseball season – the Orioles and the Reds, Trout and Dickey – is much better than the campaign season.
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.