Rusty Staub, Bud Harrelson, Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky, Ed Charles, Skip Lockwood and Joan Hodges -- just to drop a few names.
A lot of early Mets history will be coming to Hofstra University on Long Island Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then there are the writers (Stan Isaacs and Steve Jacobson) and broadcasters (Sal Marciano) and historians (John Thorn) among panel members, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Amazing Mets in a conference that figures to be both academic and fun.
I'll be moderating two panels at Hofstra, my alma mater, Friday afternoon.
In the spring of 1962, I was taking my one and, as it turned out, my only graduate course -- the novel, with a terrific three-week segment by Dr. Hull on Ulysses, about a very human being who spends a long day wandering but finally gets to go home. How fitting. .
In sleet and rain, on Friday, April 13, also fitting, I attended the Mets' first home game – as a fan -- at the Polo Grounds, along with my Newsday pal George Usher. By mid-season I was one of Casey Stengel’s “my writers,” standing by his side at his 72nd birthday party in St. Louis, when he most emphatically did not ask, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”
Never signed up for any more grad courses. Dr. Hull and Casey. Both great teachers.
With my three grad credits, I get to run two panels Friday afternoon at the Hofstra conference.
At 3:15 PM, I will introduce my long-time friend, Ed Charles, the heart and soul of the 1969 Mets, who promises to recite a new poem for the anniversary.
And at 4:15 PM, I will conduct a panel entitled: New Yorkers Recall the Dark Ages: Four Long Years Before the Birth of the Mets.
Panel members will include Joan Lombardi Hodges, Gil Hodges, Jr., Stan Isaacs, the landmark Newsday columnist known for his appropriately-named column Out of Left Field, and Marty Adler, head of the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame.
Although a proud son of Brooklyn, Stan Isaacs promises to stick up for his dearly departed New York Giants.
We will be talking about the four lean years without the National League in New York,and then the bizarre early years of the Amazing Mets.
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.