I stick with things a long time – ratty t-shirts, tattered sneakers, faded easy chairs.
For the same reason, I am glad the Mets did not break up this juggernaut at the trading deadline.
Is this a personality defect, this disinterest in change? Probably. Go tell it to my clamshell cell phone. But some things work just well enough; you get used to them.
I just got an e-mail from a senior-citizen hardball player in the city who says he has stopped being a Yankee fan because of the way they dumped Brian Roberts, essentially an Oriole, to make room for new infielders.
Reminder: guys got dropped to make room for Johnny Mize and Johnny Sain and Enos Slaughter and Pedro Ramos over the years. Pistol Pete helped salvage the 1964 pennant, although he arrived too late to be eligible for the World Series.
As somebody who follows most Mets games, I’m glad they did not scuttle Bartolo Colon. I got used to his constant half smile (is he happy? is it gas?) and his Iron Mike steadiness. I know he’s a one-year wonder at 42, but move him in the off season.
I’m glad they didn’t trade Daniel Murphy because he hustles, old-school, even though he makes fans nervous every time he bends for a simple grounder.
Generally, I hate the trading deadline in the era of free agency. I hated it when the Mets sold David Cone in one of those weasel waiver deals in late August of 1992. I hated it last season when the Mets unloaded Marlon Byrd. By mid-summer, you get used to a player who is doing his job.
These mid-summer dumps happen when players’ contracts are running out, or getting too expensive. It’s the drawback to free agency, which the players earned, although the so-called reserve clause, servitude, contributed to that wonderful decade of my childhood – six pennants in 10 years for the Boys of Summer. That will never happen now. Duke Snider would have opted out. Or Big Newk. Or somebody.
If players have the right to move around, clubs have the right to move them first, for some quick-fix advantage. I get it. Fans have a lust for trades; if they didn’t, there would be no sports-talk radio.
But this Mets’ season is just comfortable enough, given our limited expectations in the hundred-year contamination period from Bernie Madoff. Sandy Alderson is building something – I don’t know what. They made a good move in keeping Duda. Who knew? They sent d’Arnaud to the attitude farm in Las Vegas, and brought him back fast. Who doesn’t love watching Famiglia and Mejia in the eighth and ninth? It’s been fun watching deGrom pitch – and swing – from his first game.
So play it out in Queens, while the Lesters and Lackeys and Prices go flying around, office temps.
Maybe Mets fans would feel differently if the Mets were a legitimate contender. Who has that kind of time?
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.