Opening Day Takes Back Seat to Justice
Brother-sister Web banter, Wednesday evening:
Dave: “Fact: The day before opening day is the longest day of the year.”
Laura: “That’s the tweet du jour. An ode.”
Dave: “The coldest winter I ever spent was the day before opening day.”
That’s a lot of responsibility to put on any sport – to make things right with the world.
It used to be that baseball’s major chore was to make people feel warm after a long, cold, lonely winter.
Here comes the sun.
But the stakes are higher these days, what with Donald J. Trump still stinking up the world. It's hard to get excited about anything, any sport, with hundreds of thousands of Americans dead of Covid because that “administration” would not administer.
It's hard to worry about a pitcher's injury or a batter's slump compared to Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine, committed by the dictator who turns Donald Trump into a stammering schoolboy.
It's hard to wonder how your team will do this season while America's children are being mowed down in schools, which apparently is okay with the political party in thrall to Donald Trump. I saw that Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee ("We homeschool") shrugging off the slaughter of the innocents in Nashville, with the disdain of a true worshipper of Donald Trump.
Still, on a frigid day up north, I was eager for the opening days of the two New York teams because I need a break from the dismal news in my newspaper of choice olus radio and television stations.
Some fans were excited by the possibilities on opening day, with baseball opening a season with a full slate of games. All teams were in the position Casey Stengel used to take with new seasons, new players: “They aint failed yet,” he said, when he was managing the Mets, always looking for the Youth of America.
You can make a case for the restorative powers of opening day.
My father played hooky on April 18, 1923, to watch the first game in the new Yankee Stadium – Babe Ruth against his old team, the Red Sox. Although Pop was a Brooklyn Dodger fan, and later a Mets fan, he loved to tell me about the thrill of cutting high school to see The Babe, and he recalled the construction rubble around the new ballpark.
Years later, when I was based in Louisville, the NYT assigned me to drive alongside the Ohio River to cover two traditional home openers in Cincinnati, in respect for the original Red Stockings, the first professional team. Rose and Bench and Perez, cold and damp, but tradition being honored. Baseball doesn’t do that for Cincinnati anymore, and something has been lost.
Mets fan that I am, I eagerly tuned in the Yankee opener on radio station WFAN, with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, whom he sometimes calls “my compañera” – John’s shtick, Suzyn’s knowledge.
They were bristling with baseball – Aaron Judge’s home run into Monument Park behind center field at the Stadium, and the debut of Anthony Volpe, from Manhattan and New Jersey, age 21, making his debut with a uniform patch that said “MLB Debut” -- the Youth of America, Casey's dream.
I was planning a pensioner's doubleheader on opening day, recalling how I had attended the Mets’ first home game in 1962, as a fan, in the funky old stopgap home, the Polo Grounds. A sharp wind made raindrops sting like needles, and the old Mets stumbled around in the field, a portent of years of epic but charming clumsiness.
On television Thursday, there was the triumvirate of Gary and Ron and Keith, so comfortable with each other, and then I switched to Good Old Howie Rose on the radio, who closed the victory with his trademark, "Put it in the books!"
Midway through the game, my cellphone began pinging, and instead of baseball details I was receiving news that Donald J. Trump had been indicted in the case of paying a stripper to cover up the brief liaison he had with her. (The stripper said it was 90 seconds. His life changed in 90 seconds.)
Finally, after all the contemptuous behavior of Donald J. Trump and his lackeys, and the unproductive legal shuffling by Robert Mueller and Merrick Garland, a grand jury in New York has returned an indictment.
So what if it isn't the biggest violation we know Trump did -- planning a seditious raid on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, leaning on the governor of Georgia to "find" some non-existent votes, hiding classified federal documents in his playpen in Florida.
As somebody just said to me, "This is the perfect indictment for a sleazebag."
A good beginning.
So I didn't have anything more to type about Opening Day.
All I wanted to do was read the stories on the Web, plus to the experts, the lawyers, the journalists.
I grew up in Queens, less than a mile from the Trump house on Midland Parkway. I know people who were close to the Trump household, who regarded nasty little Donald as a bad seed. He's been getting away with stuff for seven decades, with the smirk of a spoiled kid.
Finally, somebody has had the courage to act on Donald J. Trump.
3/30/2023 08:03:36 pm
I think, perhaps hope is a better verb, that this is the first domino.
3/31/2023 03:36:32 pm
He dpesn't lack for soul mates, does he?
3/30/2023 08:14:43 pm
3/31/2023 03:37:25 pm
I bet Trump is jealous about the way Bolsonaro went about de-stabilizing the rain forest.
3/30/2023 09:33:46 pm
3/30/2023 10:55:35 pm
Mr. Schwartz, where'd you learn to write like that? ;-) :-) As to substance and style!
3/31/2023 03:41:15 pm
Andy: Walter was the editor of the Jamaica High Hilltopper monthly paper...then he went straight, as a lawyer, including ours. Now he serves as social director and historian for our class. GV
3/30/2023 10:03:34 pm
Thanks so much, George. You really captured this highly unusual day. I went through exactly the same process, and it was good to know that I was not alone.
3/31/2023 03:43:04 pm
Darrell: sometimes ya just gotta have priorities....Thanks, GV
Alan D Levine
3/31/2023 12:07:10 am
Walked away from the TV, turned on the radio, and read the NYT story and updates. I barely paid attention to the Mets' last three innings. It's not very often that something else is more important than baseball on Opening Day. In fact, it might be the first time in my life.
3/31/2023 03:44:11 pm
Alan, as I told Darrell....GV
3/31/2023 06:21:25 am
3/31/2023 03:45:34 pm
Randy, back to the garden. I've seen photos of your crops. You have a high standard to uphold. GV
3/31/2023 06:53:37 am
As they say..."It's a start...". Meanwhile, in Atlanta a diligent and thorough prosecutor is hard at work. And in Washington...
3/31/2023 03:47:21 pm
Go, Fani Willis.
3/31/2023 08:26:42 am
George, you are the ultimate gentleman. To refer to Ms. Daniels as a "stripper" undersells her true vocation. (Google is not your friend here).
3/31/2023 03:49:28 pm
Hey, Roy, thanks. I was typing with the Mets game on the radio....I would have edited that today but you had already noticed, so I left it. GV
3/31/2023 10:44:48 am
3/31/2023 03:49:46 pm
PS 35, Thank you.
3/31/2023 02:53:59 pm
Yes, he's a "nasty little Donald," but he's their nasty little Donald and he knows perfectly well how to exploit even an indictment. Call him an ignoramus at our peril. He'll reinvigorate his base with every charge.
3/31/2023 03:59:54 pm
Oh, he was a nasty little boy. I got witnesses from Jamaica Estates. Trouble at Kew Forest. Trouble at Miitary school. He has selective memory and knowledge. I witnessed Ivana's exasperation that he didn't even know much about that football team he owned, I've met him 6-8 times -- goes blank when the subject doesn;t interest him. He knows what he knows...how to get money.
3/31/2023 04:12:53 pm
Andy, Quite alwrite. I took your remarks as a comment-lament. In our time and place (the '50's in Jamaica 32, NY, before they invented zip codes), we called people like Donald, little brats. He couldn't get into P.S. 131 even if he had wanted to so Pop and Mom sent him off to military school before he became a neighbor hood. [Hey, George, This blog would be fun--if it weren't so serious!]. - Walter
3/31/2023 06:14:34 pm
Walter, I am not familiar with the expression "comment-lament," but to be clear I meant mine as a complament for your word play, which by now may be re-done,da'n't!
3/31/2023 08:00:35 pm
4/2/2023 03:17:51 pm
Hello George. I'm a US soccer historian with SASH and I wanted to talk with you about your Colin Jose Media award. Can you send me an email please?
4/2/2023 09:54:38 pm
Hi. I don't have access to your email. Please send yours via a comment here. GV
4/3/2023 01:23:57 am
Hi. Sorry about that.
Comments are closed.
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.