My wife could hear me shout, one floor away.
“Are you all right?’ she wanted to know.
No. I am not all right. Déjà vu all over again.
I saw the botched play coming. As soon as Bobby Parnell wheeled to second with the easy come-backer, I had a flashback to nearly 15 months ago.
My question is, if I remembered, how come the knuckleheads on the field could not remember?
This is the agony of the fan, now that the Mets are actually in contention.
It’s been so long. Every game, every play, every tapper to the mound, is fraught with meaning.
This was Sunday. The Pirates had a runner on first base, nobody out, tie game. The Mets were on a two-game losing streak all of a sudden.
Parnell induced the batter to bounce the ball right to him. Parnell turned toward second base and I could visualize the same play, May 21, 2014.
The only constant was Daniel Murphy at second base. Right.
I had a memory of a Met pitcher (Jeurys Familia) making a perfect toss to second base to start a double play, only to have the shortstop (Wilmer Flores, that day) and Murphy turn it into a mere force play, as a run scored, the eventual margin in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers.
The lads had not bothered to communicate who was covering second in case of a throw. Simple stuff.
Last Sunday Ruben Tejada was the shortstop. He floated toward second. Murphy also moved toward second, either flinching or gesturing. Either way, Tejada was distracted.
My Munch scream was piercing the air long before the ball bounced into center field. Soon, three-game losing streak.
Manager Terry Collins later sputtered that reporters are always trying to assign blame. “We” – the ubiquitous “we” – did not make the play.
To be fair, Collins has contributed to the instability – and so did the cancelled trade involving Flores. Because of injuries and platooning, the Mets essentially have two utility infielders sharing shortstop. Murphy has willingly played three infield positions with his mix of grit and klutziness. .
Still, how hard is it to make eye contact before each batter? Before each pitch?
That’s what Tinker and Evers did. What Trammell and Whitaker did. What Marion and Schoendienst did.
Of course, a fan’s memory is not the same as the muscle memory of a major-leaguer in real time.
The scream was involuntary. It shows a fan cares.
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.