Players come and go – stars and role players – and fans remember the good things.
At least they do in baseball, maybe because it happens every day, and fans get to know players, even the ones riding the bench.
That’s surely why a segment of Mets fans were rooting for Kansas City in the Super Bowl Sunday.
Nothing against the Eagles. City rivalries, city putdowns, are over-rated, faux passion. But it wasn’t hard to like the Chiefs because of their live-wire quarterback – Patrick Mahomes, whose father played two seasons for the Mets.
This is old news, now that it is officially baseball season, and not a moment too soon. Pitchers and catchers. I chose to read a book Sunday evening and tune out the Super Bowl – I’m long retired and don’t have to watch -- but the family message link was pinging with talk of Rhianna, whether or not she is pregnant. (She is.)
From what I hear, the second major event on Sunday was the Mets’ commercial, every nuance relayed Monday by our son (born on the day the Mets clinched their division in 1969, just saying.) Nimmo sprinting, Lindor preening, Guillorme by the water cooler (ready to snag a wayward flying bat, no doubt), new Met Kodai Senga introducing his signature pitch, Nido interpreting, Edwin Diaz closing the deal, of course. Yet another bravo to Mets owner Steve Cohen.
Mets fans get it. Those of a certain age remember Mahomes père, with an 8-0 record in 1999 and 5-3 the next year, then bouncing around for another decade or so.
New York sportswriters who were around in those years – and I was – remember Pat Mahomes as one of those wise old heads who have seen it all, and when they pass through town they can talk about the sport, adult to adult -- Bob Watson and Chili Davis with the Yankees, Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson with the Mets, just to drop a few names.
Pat Mahomes used to bring his frisky little son with him to the ballpark and give him a glove and uniform and let him scamper around the field during practice.
(Check out the great article by old-hand Steve Serby in recent New York Post.)
It’s like watching old family movies.
Actually, Mets fans were sentimental from their first year, 1962, when old Giant and Dodger fans flocked to the Polo Grounds to applaud Snider and Mays, Musial and Banks, back in Big Town.
Later, Mets’ fans cheered Tom Seaver of the Cincinnati Reds after that abominable trade by a vindictive Mets official.
These days, Mets fans never fail to greet Wilmer Flores – Weeping Wilmer, as we call him in this family -- for the way he watered the field with his tears on the foul night when he heard he might be traded. Wilmer has made a place for himself in San Francisco, doffs his cap, the Mets’ ultimate prodigal son.
Now other Mets have moved on. Fans will surely greet recent Mets like Dom Smith, now with Washington, who showed his soul as a great teammate; Taijuan Walker, ditto, now with the Phillies; Seth Lugo, now with San Diego; and the new Giant, Michael Conforto, whom I could mourn more if I didn’t enjoy Starling Marte so much.
Players come and go.
I wonder how fans will react on Aug. 28-29-30 when the Texas Rangers come to Queens.
With any luck, a healthy Jacob deGrom will be with the Rangers, maybe even starting a game.
I would expect Mets fans to applaud him. But how much, and how hard?
It seems to me, deGrom bolted from the Mets for more money and did not have much to say about his wonderful years in New York (unless he did not consider them so wonderful.)
Was it the lack of runs?
Or, no, it couldn’t be – was it us?
Not a Weeping Wilmer situation.
Definitely not a Weeping Wilmer situation.
(Your thoughts? In Comments below)
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.