I have not watched an inning, an out, a pitch, since the Mets disintegrated what seems like months and months ago.
I just can’t watch. I gave so much to the Mets all season, probably 125 parts of 162 games. Got nothing left.
Philadelphia is playing Houston in the World Series – now the coda to a long and lucrative process, four separate rounds as northern weather gets more iffy.
(I know, I know, last year I railed against baseball adopting the basketball/hockey endless playoffs, but this year I give up. The World Series has become "The Finals."
Baseball needs to make money so badly that, in the era of Rob Manfred, they play forever, pimping for gambling sites, encouraging people with a gambling jones to put money on each pitch, each swing.
After a year of Mets melodrama, I need a break – reading good books, watching the tube with my wife, puttering around the house, seeing our family, at least until the pandemic clamps down again.
(Well, not exactly. In the spirit of conscientious bloggery, I must admit I will be watching the World Cup of soccer, in Qatar, beginning on Nov. 20, with the United States meeting Wales the next day. The World Cup only comes around once every four years, which is part of the mystique of the event, although the masters of world soccer keep twitching to run the event more frequently. The dopes.)
Only one more thing about this World Series: Nothing against the Phillies, who staged a gallant rally late in the season, when they had been dead meat under Joe Girardi. Good for them. My Pennsylvania relatives report loud noise from Philly. Enjoy.
However, I am rooting for Houston for one reason only – Dusty Baker. He was a friend of my late pal, Bob Welch, with the Dodgers, and he runs in the same circles as some other friends in the Bay Area, and he has had some memorable managing gigs. Only thing he hasn’t done is win a World Series. Go Dusty.
I did consult a few good friends of mine from Jamaica High in Queens, back in the day, to see how they feel about the "World Series."
By Walter Schwartz
For much of the past season, the Yankees were, or at least thought they were, the best team in the world, or the pre-determined champions of the world. But that was before they won their division and were given a bye in the first round.
Soon after mid-season, it began to come tumbling down and the deficiencies became apparent: a straggling bullpen, a struggling bench and a stultifying manager.
A lot has already been said about the uncertainty of their relief pitchers and reserve players, but a major part of the issue is the guy in the dugout, a sullen, unapologetic, inconsistent handler who begrudgingly dodged post-game questions (many of them softball) from the media and walked off without ever thanking any member of them.
Every one of the post-game commentators (including Michael Kay and David Cone) rebuked the manager for his pitching and lineup tactical decisions during the Astros series. Anyone who thinks the vociferous shouts we heard were only for Donaldson, Carpenter and, sadly, Judge, is mistaken. The way I saw and heard it, the loudest of the fans were booing, “Boooooone”.
So where does this go or should go? I know the present manager remains under contract (as was Joe Girardi who was let go by the Phillies and look what happened afterwards!), but if I were a gambler I’d place a bet on whether Boone was invited back, although the odds would be changing from batter to batter and inning to inning.
(I might suggest to the Commissioner doing just that during the Houston-Philly series.) That’s how ridiculous and greedy it is for baseball to allow between-inning, and at other times, betting commercials to infiltrate the “national pastime” and particularly the children who watch them.
And that’s my take how the Yankees got yanked.
(Walter Schwartz was once upon a time the editor of the Hilltopper, the newspaper of Jamaica High School, long since put out of existence by New York "leaders" who, of course, knew best.)
By Jean White Grenning
(Jean is our Class-President-for-Life. As the pandemic abated for the warm months, she and Phyllis Rosenthal were known to take in a ballgame here and there, in our home borough.)
We are “The Ballpark Twins.” Loyal Mets fans to the end.
It may be an old saying but “Wait til next year!!”
George, I have no great love for Yankees but they are a New York team so I was hoping they would win. They are like the rich kid whose father can buy him everything but he can’t buy him a winning team.
That’s it from me. Jean
By Alan Levine
So now we get to the World Series, with the best team in the American League facing a National League team that finished a fairly distant third in its division. I consider this a ludicrous state of affairs, fueled by television networks and greedy owners and players. That three teams who had won more than one hundred games each were eliminated in a hodge-podge of short, jerry-built, sudden-death series tarnishes a game meant to reward hard work and season-long persistence.
Here is my proposal for restoring the big leagues to a semblance of sanity, which probably illustrates nothing more than how old I am.
1. Add one team to each league.
2. Divide each league into two, strictly geographical, divisions.
3. Eliminate all regular season interleague play.
4. Have each team play fourteen games against each of the teams in its division and eight games against each of the teams in its league's other division.
5. At the end of the 162-game season, each league has a best-of-seven playoff between the two division champions.
6. The World Series will be between the winners of each league's playoff.
7. Everyone goes home by Columbus Day.
8. We'll discuss the designated hitter some other time. As for the ghost runner, there is no discussion. Keep him in the dugout.
(Alan Levine is my friend from junior high school. He is still working.)
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.