Catering to the Thumb Generation (of which I am a fringe member), Major League Baseball disappeared a game from television on Wednesday.
The business that still charmingly thinks of itself as The National Pastime has a new partnership with the dippy kid in the gray t-shirt, Mark Zuckerberg.
I think that means all information on Mets Nation -- all we scruffy, gauche losers who root for one miracle every generation – is now in the hands of Comrade Vladimir in the Kremlin.
Facebook was already chums with something called Cambridge Analytica which seems to have been in cahoots with various apparatchiks during the 2016 election including the possible next national security advisor, Mad Dog Bolton.
Baseball is letting the t-shirt guy put the occasional major-league game on Facebook so people can like or dislike what transpires on the field. The price for one MLB game a week is $30-million for the season – that’s what matters, isn’t it?
In real life, it’s not that hard to tell if baseball fans like or dislike something. Just the other day, Giancarlo Stanton struck out five times in his Yankee Stadium debut and Yankee fans faithfully gave him something called a Bronx Cheer.
Schnooky old baseball managed to distract from Wednesday’s Mets-Phillies game in Queens. James Wagner of the Times appropriately wrote an entire sagacious article about the t-shirt guy’s coup rather than the Mets’ bullpen or the clutch hit. (Tyler Kepner did write a column about the game itself.)
What with all the teeth-gnashing about baseball’s sellout, it seemed the game itself vanished into the dark hole of likes and dislikes.
Not true. I caught most of that game on this strange medium called radio.
The Mets’ game was on WOR – 710 on the AM dial – described by Howie Rose and Josh Lewin. Rose, aware the game had vanished from the tube, offered the observation, “I think radio is here to stay.”
Home-town fans get used to their TV and radio broadcasters. When the national broadcast pre-empts a Met game, I opt for radio. Mets fans don’t need national drop-in experts telling them stuff they already know.
Plus, the sellout by #ShamelessMLB on Wednesday meant that Mets-TV addicts were forever deprived of possible weird dialogues such as the one that ensued during Thursday’s game in Washington, with Gary Cohen monitoring the banter between old teammates from 1986, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.
Darling to Hernandez on Good Old SNY: Were you this funny when we played together? You’re pretty funny.
Cohen: He was the Prince of Darkness back then.
That's what Mets fans expect – not twiddling of thumbs.
At least the t-shirt guy hasn’t sold all of baseball to Cambridge Analytica. (Memo to Mark Zuckerberg: when you are hauled into Congress next week, go find a suit. Play dressup.)
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Speaking of Queens and baseball, my friend-the-writer, Rabbi Mendel Horowitz, has written about following baseball in Israel during Passover: Enjoy:
4/5/2018 06:15:03 pm
I’m enjoying you again, George. Big time! This is the GV I’ve known. I hope Twitter picks up baseballl, because I dropped Facebook after being hacked through them multiple times. I share your love of baseball radio. I remember 40 years ago listening to a Red Sox game with an avid 90’s plus fan named George Soule. No TV reception in Cornwall. He was GS the consecutive 9th. The first of his name and line came over on the Mayflower. That’s baseball and American tradition.
4/5/2018 08:22:46 pm
Brian: Wow. Not sure I ever heard of nine consecutive generations with a child with the same name. Traditional, indeed. Although, Marianne's research into her Lancashire ancestors and my ancient Leicestershire rellies indicates either a respect for tradition or a woeful lack of imagination (I am leaning toward the latter.)
4/5/2018 08:41:42 pm
Try a martini first, George, then write something else! Our Buddy is doing great!
4/5/2018 08:59:29 pm
Brian, knowing you are a history buff, can I assume you have read Nathaniel Philbrick's great book about the Mayflower (including several great chapters on the voyage and landing itself, as nautical adventure)
4/5/2018 09:13:43 pm
I don’t know Philbrick’s book, but will get it. Janet’s main male relative is John Howland. On the voyage over he fell overboard in a storm. He sank under water and his hand touched a halyard which he grabbed and pulled himself above water and was in turn pulled up on deck and rescued. Miracles do happen. Sometimes in elections and people without hope are saved.
4/5/2018 09:50:32 pm
I love the connection between Jerusalem and the Van Wyck, which Mom calls the Van Wicked because of Kew Interchange traffic delays on trips to Eddie’s Sweet Shop on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills. Does watching baseball on the Sabbath result in as much guilt as a 10-year-old Yankee fan’s September ride on the 1969 Miracle Bandwagon does to this day? Seeing Swoboda’s catch on the radio in Sister Joan’s fifth grade class room. I see more innings on the radio than the tube these days.
4/11/2018 06:23:41 am
4/14/2018 12:24:38 am
Thanks, Mendel: Never heard of Action Bronson before this. It is a shame that our culture has degraded to levels such as it, though this is no criticism of you. The knit in his brow belies a self-conscious insecurity. Understandable: if one cannot communicate without the use of such profane vulgarity, then one ought not communicate.
4/6/2018 07:41:01 am
Andy: when Dale Mitchell took an obvious ball and the ump signaled a perfect game for Larsen, i saw it on a car radio in a parking lot at Hofstra. Thumbs up for radio. GV
4/6/2018 11:48:36 am
George-You can do a blog just of the joys of listening to radio.
4/6/2018 04:20:05 pm
Quite a fine rant, George! I, too, was bummed to learn of the MLB-enabled FB intervention. What a relief, yesterday, to see our Metsies face off against the Nationals on SNY. Sure it was a work day, but that's why iPads were invented, for a discreet Mets viewing experience in the middle of a weekday afternoon. It's the adult version of sneaking a transistor radio under the covers on a school night. And no less enjoyable. LGM, Peter
4/6/2018 07:42:50 pm
4/7/2018 12:33:25 pm
Yeah, that 'splaining stuff to the Hinterlands can grow old. I will say that the Shulman- ABoone-Mendoza group was good, except that I wanted to hear the three Mets guys, two of them poking at Keith, etc.
4/7/2018 03:40:00 pm
4/7/2018 01:50:05 pm
Great as always, Mr. Vecsey. Howie Rose's comment reminds me of when Jack Buck was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame: "Turn the radio on ... Television self-destructs."
4/7/2018 03:27:40 pm
4/8/2018 11:45:31 am
Who can forget Vince Scully, as Snider walked from the on-deck circle to the batter's box: "And here comes The Duke!" And then, when he tagged one, "And there's a LONG drive, to DEEP right field . . . it's high . . . it's deep . . . forget it, it's GONE."
4/8/2018 01:25:58 pm
He'll always be the kid from Fordham to me.
4/9/2018 12:54:31 am
"we kinda sit there jabbering away about igloos and stuff."
4/9/2018 01:31:59 am
4/9/2018 10:59:45 am
Last night was another good reason to support baseball radio. The Mets were on the ropes all night and into the morning and the TV light glared and I couldn't snooze during commercials. I liked the Mets on radio. Gotta figure out how to find an Internet radio broadcast with comfortable wireless earplugs. Hopefully, the announcers will be old-school enough to wake me for the exciting parts.
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“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.