What a wonderful time, probably the most fun I've ever had watching a team through an entire season, allowed to be a fan.Not going to let the last week get in the way.
They were admirable, playing for Collins even when he had AAA players and castoffs in the middle of the lineup, guys like Campbell and Recker, plus Colon and Niese, who made the Mets decent enough, bought time, emboldened the management to spend on better players.
Who will forget Wright’s first swing in Philly, and the perceived panic move of calling up Conforto from AA ball, and the arrival of Johnson and Uribe, plus Wilmer Flores’ tears, and then Cespedes, out of nowhere, looking like Willie Mays for six weeks. ("Sold his soul to the devil so he could play guitar" -- Lucinda Williams.)
They crushed the Nationals. They stunned the Dodgers’ aces. They swept the Cubs. Now they have lost to a better team that plays the game right, guys who learned lessons last year, and carried them out this year. Great energy. Skills. Make contact. Take the base.
No recriminations. Harvey challenged the manager in the dugout, in front of teammates, in front of the world.
On Sunday evening, I felt: Let him pitch til he puts somebody on base. Two-run lead. Then bring in the big guy. Collins stayed with him one batter too long, not two, but unless I was in the dugout, with the decision to make, I won’t second-guess Collins. He’s had a great run.
Murphy also had a great run, clubbing Chicago into submission. The Mets were going to jettison him anyway, for reasons of salary and age and defensive liability, his inner klutz. Back to Plan A.
As for Cespedes, my National League-centric brain wondered why he had been on three AL teams in his short time in the majors. Looking back, why did it take NL pitchers six weeks to learn to go up, up, up on Cespedes?
He couldn’t adjust. He seemed to get more nonchalant in the outfield and the bases as the pressure mounted. He went golfing on the day of a game in Chicago. I don’t think he was ready in center field for the first pitch of the World Series. He’s 30, time to keep moving. He just saved the Wilpons a ton of money, but what an epic jolt he brought for those few short weeks.
I spent the whole season watching personal favorites like Granderson, deGrom, Familia. Who knows about next year? But wasn’t it a great time?
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.