(I wrote the following Mets/Democrats piece before the horrors of last weekend, and the ensuing hypocrisy in a country that cannot deal with the proliferation of weapons of war, in the hands of racists, surely touched off by the president. Is there room or excuse for musing about reality-show "debates" and a baseball team?)
* * *
I am a Mets fan and I am a Democrat.
I believe these masochistic traits are linked.
The Mets, as I typed this, were on a seven-game winning streak. I was not fooled. This will not go anywhere. The rock will fall down the hill. On our heads. And indeed, they got whacked Friday night in Pittsburgh.
The Democrats are currently not on any kind of winning streak. You saw it.
Both loyalties involve short Dionysian moments of glory and long Appollonian decades of suffering.
In other words, the 1969 Mets were John F. Kennedy and the 1986 Mets were Barack Obama.
This temporary joy goes way back. In the first year of the Mets, 1962, a pitcher named Jay Hook, great guy, pitched a good game and likened it to picking cherries – some are sour, but then you bite into a sweet cherry, and that keeps you going.
In the years to follow, the Mets discarded Nolan Ryan and Amos Otis and Tom Seaver and Justin Turner. They once traded Len Dykstra and Roger McDowell for a mope named Juan Samuel.
At the moment, the Mets are being run by a reforming agent and a former pitching coach. Somehow management avoided the Metsian impulse to blow it all up and start over. At the trading deadline, they kept their good pitchers and have won seven straight. I do not expect it to last.
I was prepared to suffer with the Mets by a childhood rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers, who signed Jackie Robinson in 1947. They did the right thing.
I was also raised to believe the Democrats tried to take care of people. They did the right thing.
Now the Dems are trying to find a candidate who can beat The Worst Person in the World. They paraded 20 candidates on stage on Tuesday and Wednesday, like some laboratory experiment involving small furry animals, who immediately set upon each other with teeth and claws.
The worst thing was watching some young wannabes whacking away at old Joe Biden, fair enough, but then linking it to the Obama regime, which I found offensive and self-defeating.
I could not tell how much of that act was posturing and how much was real. It was horrible to watch, but I watched, because…because….I am also a Mets fan. I know how to suffer.
Okay, it was summer TV fare. You know how icky summer TV is. It did not count. It did not happen. (I was relieved to see that the entire country – everybody! – reacts to Mayor de Blasio the way New Yorkers do.)
My main reaction to this summer reality show is that I like Mayor Pete (“He ain’t failed yet,” as Casey Stengel used to say about The Youth of America, that is, young hopefuls) and that Elizabeth Warren is the most knowledgeable and most passionate candidate. She is 70 and has the energy of a 45-year-old. She is from Oklahoma and has experienced deprivation.
And as somebody wrote in a letter to the NYT today, if Trump stalks Warren on stage the way he did to Hillary Clinton, Warren has the street smarts, the sense of self, to point to his corner of the stage and say, “Down, boy,” or worse.
But one thing I have learned in a life of noble causes: stuff happens.
8/2/2019 03:27:38 pm
So delighted and gratified to find your column. Years of looking forward to pieces on soccer, sports, dreaded steinbrenner and more are remembered and appreciated! Thanks.
8/2/2019 04:15:41 pm
Dear Alex Seiler: Thanks for noticing. Yes, this is my little therapy web site. Been retired eight years (!) and don't write for NYT these days; so I write a bit more personally. Comments (pro or con) always welcome.
8/2/2019 04:36:43 pm
George, how could a fellow sufferer, (note: I did not say, “fellow traveler,” although Inexpect we have been called that, as well).
8/2/2019 10:25:09 pm
"...linking it to the Obama regime, which I found offensive and self-defeating." Yes. See also: Timothy Egan's op ed in the Times: "Worst Democratic Strategy Yet: Attack Obama’s Legacy;
8/3/2019 02:50:43 am
8/5/2019 06:22:58 pm
George, contrary to your reflexive pessimism about the Mets, I believe that they will make a run for it. They are currently fairly close to the wildcard slot.
8/5/2019 07:03:30 pm
8/6/2019 08:05:00 am
Somehow they've climbed over .500 (the Mets, not the Dems). I'm still not snookered.
8/7/2019 04:48:22 pm
Watched every day of this year's Tour de France; it was wonderful because there was no clear favorite. Then decided to read Tyler Hamilton's 2012 book, "The Secret Race." Then remembered your column of disappointment about him. Then decided to see how you are doing, since I was always a fan of your sports writing.
8/8/2019 02:50:37 pm
Dear Robert Wood: How nice to hear from you. I hope you check back on this site to see my response. I'm good -- blessed, really -- and still in touch with some readers who remember my work for the NYT.
8/8/2019 03:21:49 pm
Thanks,George. Very nice to hear from you, and glad to know you're well.
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.