Baseball 'Opens Up'....The Pandemic
On Monday morning, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida was telling one of those money channels that the U.S. had to “open up” for business.
Sen. Scott knows a lot about business, having run a “health-care” company that paid $1.7-billion in penalties, while he personally escaped jail as the leader of the devious pack.
But there he was, a senator, urging American businesses to get back to work. At the very same time, Major League Baseball – as part of its patriotic duty to get back to business – was postponing two games scheduled for Monday because many members of the Miami Marlins, in the state Scott theoretically represents, had tested positive for Covid-19.
Getting back to business has its drawbacks, whether for endangered children and endangered teachers in schools being pressured to open, or ball players in their own little playpens.
Donald Trump, allegedly once the greatest baseball prospect in American prep-school history, has insisted the game be resumed as part of the economic re-opening. Then again, he felt the same thing about political rallies and nominating conventions. Poor schlub, he invited himself to throw out a first pitch in Yankee Stadium and then got disinvited. (Ever hear an empty stadium boo?)
Baseball is supposed to contribute to normalcy while a pandemic is going on, particularly in the presumably-red Sunbelt states being led into danger by clodhoppers like Abbott of Texas, Kemp of Georgia and DeSantis of Florida. (Where do they get these people?)
As of this typing, baseball was still planning to hold most games in its improvised season of 60 games. But ballplayers were starting to follow the new protocols, donning masks on the field, refraining from some bro hugs, and some were voicing their fears.
This puts these masked men ahead of many millions of Americans currently milling around unmasked at bars and beaches and back-yard parties, ignoring the warnings of scientists. It’s part of their constitutional rights, as Americans, to be independent knuckleheads.
This raises questions for me, hunkering in our cool cave at home, watching just about every pitch of the Mets'first four games.
How can I watch the runs, hits, errors, facial expressions and strategies in empty stadiums, while millions of people around the world are endangered by this pandemic?
We stay home as much as possible, we read, we watch filmed plays from London, we listen to the political yammerers on the tube, my wife makes great meals. And for the moment, I watch the Mets.
Every winter I wait for the season, and finally it is here, in its imperiled fashion, and I am watching Jeff McNeil’s fire and Jacob deGrom’s near-perfection and Pete Alonso’s power and Seth Lugo’s monk-like calm.
Am I doing something wrong? Am I encouraging baseball…and other businesses….to “open up?”
I took a random sample Monday night.
One fan, nameless, was at home in front of the tube, watching the Mets from Fenway Park, which was sadly not quivering with energy and history.
The game was not 15 minutes old when the Mets committed a blunder on the field. My phone pinged with a message from the aforementioned fan: “Not a very disciplined ball club.” So we pinged back and forth while the Mets held on for a 7-4 victory. For one more evening, we watched baseball, knowing it could be the last for a long time.
My sample was balanced by other pings from a good friend of mine, a former minor-league prospect who knows the game so well and shares my appreciation for the late-bloomer Jeff McNeil.
Except that my ball-player pal was not watching. He thinks baseball should not be open, should not be exposing players and those who serve them. He pinged:
“George, I refuse to watch this stupid circus! MLB has lost the little credibility they once had! The owners do not care about baseball’s image! They care only about taking in anti-trust-protected profits!”
So there you have it. One for. One against.
For the moment, I am watching the Mets.
What else I got to do?
7/28/2020 11:03:22 am
Hi George - Even without sports to watch I feel so fortunate as so many in this country and world suffer thru the pandemic and the heat. I really enjoyed the full conclusion of the English and Spanish soccer seasons - even without the crowds (though of course it was sad to see empty venues). Similarly, i'm looking forward to Champions League in August. I'm less interested in basseball, basketball & hockey mostly because of the truncated schedules (I still don't think 1981 was a legit season for MLB). Once again, i feel so fortunate to have this conversation with my job and paycheck and air conditioned living space. I pray for a change of leadership in November! Stay well - Michael
7/28/2020 03:26:16 pm
Michael: thank you for your note. Some of us are luckier than others --health, proper warnings, and the means to go about our business safer than many others. I second your gratefulness.
7/28/2020 11:03:57 am
I wish you would not disparage clodhoppers by associating "Abbott of Texas, Kemp of Georgia and DeSantis of Florida" with them... Where DO they get these guys? Have we Americans no shame?
7/28/2020 03:32:48 pm
Tom, watching this smug attorney general justifying military authoritarianism today, I realize, no, not much shame in 1/3 of the population
7/28/2020 12:10:23 pm
When Donald struck out during his prep school career, do we know if he accepted the call and returned to the dugout? Asking for a friend.
7/28/2020 06:04:23 pm
Marty: he never struck out
7/29/2020 10:29:52 am
George, as I recall, you've been bearish on the prospects for even an abbreviated baseball season right from the start. I hope you're wrong, but I fear you're not. As for the Mets, I'm watching them too. The hitting will be fine. The pitching may be OK. The D is very worrisome, but that could be a function of this fractured, on again, of again, season. The OFers looked lost in Fenway. They could should have had Mookie give them a crash tutorial in Green Monstah physics. Best, Peter
7/31/2020 07:55:37 am
Peter: a few days later, Mets are looking bad. The radio guys Thursday night said McNeil, having a bad defensive start, is really better at second base (where he played a bit at the end of the game.) Diaz is a disaster -- already in a category with the occasional player who just falls apart in NYNY. No hope for him. I think MLB is already deep in a hole for a complete 60-game "season." TBC.
7/29/2020 01:24:35 pm
Right on George – Where do they get these people who wear their insensitivity and callousness as a badge of honor?
7/31/2020 08:01:40 am
Alan, watching Barack Obama delivering the eulogy for John Lewis, I had tears in my eyes -- for Lewis, for us. One thing I think I know, or sense, about Joe Biden is that, at this stage of his career, he has implicit trust in the Obamas, and in dozens and dozens of good people out there in government, that he will not be alone. GV
7/30/2020 08:22:41 pm
George, as a health professional on the front lines, I'm predicting the season to deteriorate as we get into late August. I don't believe the precautions built into the protocols will be enough. I hope I'm wrong. By the way, was your dad a sports writer also? I've been doing some research and found a George Vecsey byline in the New York Daily News in 1944. It can't be you!
7/31/2020 08:13:53 am
Dear Dr. Vassallo: Thanks for the note. Somebody in MLB notes in the NYT today (Friday) that testing this "season" has yielded a 0.1 percent positive, but tell that to the Marlins...and the Phillies. This poor country has mangled the response so badly that people don't know much.
Dr. Michael Vassallo
7/31/2020 08:43:09 am
At first I thought to myself, "Hey! There's George Vecsey!", then I realized it wasn't possible, you'd have been a little kid. Your dad was right there on the pages with Hy Turkin, Joe Trimble, Jack Smith, and the great Leo O'Mealia. I was surprised to also see Dick Young this far back. One of the topics was Mel Ott's approaching 500th home run, which would put him in 4th place all-time! This was August 30, 1944.
7/31/2020 10:00:21 am
hi: did you find it in microfilm or
Dr. Michael Vassallo
7/31/2020 05:39:24 pm
George, I have a large historical collection of original newspapers, primarily the New York Daily News (but not exclusively) that I've been slowly scanning (highlights) in high definition. So the paper with your dad I came across just recently, and scanned the sports pages for posterity. So I have them as hi-rez digital files. I would gladly send them to you if I knew where to send them, meaning an e-mail address.
8/1/2020 12:03:57 pm
Dr. Michael Vassallo
8/1/2020 06:24:03 pm
8/1/2020 12:15:21 pm
Dr. Vassallo: That would be nice. I could share it with siblings and next generation that remembers "Pop-Pop." My email is:
Dr. Michael Vassallo
8/1/2020 06:25:29 pm
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.