(NB: The following was written before the Mets had triple bad news on Friday. Well, I said it was frivolous. GV.)
It seems frivolous to be talking about the freaking Mets with all this other stuff going on in the world, but that’s where I am, mostly to preserve my own sanity.
It is very reassuring to watch a prodigal son, José Reyes, and a folk hero, Wilmer Flores, duel for playing time.
Everybody loves a prodigal son (unless, of course, Reyes has lost his edge) and everybody loves a grown man who cries.
“The Ballad of Weeping Wilmer,” David Vecsey wrote in a text message.
Write it, I said. Maybe he still will.
The Mets may have upgraded themselves once again in mid-season, by bringing in Reyes and apparently stimulating Flores to take better hacks.
Upgrades. Everybody needs a Yoenis Céspedes to come along, like last year.
Now that I think about it, the Mets have upgraded their infield defense in at least three of the four positions since last season – Asdrubal Cabrera (where has this guy been?) doesn’t look spectacular at shortstop, but…he is…and clearly a great teammate in the dugout, too.
Neal Walker is consummately professional at second base. And James Loney is so smooth at first base, making plays unseen since Keith Hernandez. When Lucas Duda is healthy, I still want Loney at first base.
With all due respect to Daniel Murphy, the newest Met-killer, having a great year for the Nationals, it had really grown tiresome watching him improvise near second base. Entire games can turn on a ground ball being handled competently. And it is possible that Reyes at third base could be an upgrade to the impaired David Wright.
Have you ever seen a club upgrade at least three quarters of the infield like that?
Then there is Wilmer Flores, who cried last year when he was almost traded, and was in a slump a few weeks ago, but now he is hacking – The Peepul’s Cherce, as we once called Dixie Walker in Brooklyn.
As David Vecsey pointed out, Flores forms a trio of legendary No. 4s in Met history, along with Ron Swoboda and Lenny Dykstra. Don’t forget blast-from-the-past Duke Snider, passing through in 1963.
Weeping Wilmer, energized, is not exactly like Céspedes arriving last summer as proof the Mets were spending money, were serious. But we all need upgrades.
If the Mets could spring for Céspedes before the deadline, other upgrades are possible.
Before it is too late -- for all of us -- the Republicans could pull a yooge deal at their convention and bring in a rational and accomplished candidate, Michael Bloomberg.
And the Democrats could bring in a charismatic and courant candidate, Elizabeth Warren.
Think Céspedes. Think big. Think upgrades.
7/8/2016 08:05:57 pm
George, however reassuring the Mets upgrade is, it is hard to compare it to upgrading presidential candidates. When government is deadlocked and can do little, you are not going to create national reputations and are left with a more or less empty stable of candidates, unlike baseball, a remarkable sport that outlives everything and produces legends after legends, generation after generation. Which we kind of take for granted, and perhaps should not. I am not a prophet by any means, but this year has felt more and more like 1968 in its violence, and it seems unlikely to cool down any time soon. This summer could see a lot worse with likely angry confrontations between the supporters of the contending candidates, particularly with Trump using motorcycle gang members for "security." To me, that's a riot waiting to happen, perhaps with deaths. Since everything else seems to lead to deaths. And I will be almost surprised if some or more assassins did NOT take a shot at one, or even both presidential candidates.We are, in my opinion, paying the price of tolerating the racism of code words for a generation. It has emboldened the bigots. That is the psychology of it all, in my view.
7/8/2016 09:00:39 pm
Hansen: one of my favorite copy editors would ask, "Are you being....facetious?"
7/9/2016 02:54:06 pm
Yes, the Sanders campaign reminds me a lot of Eugene McCarthy's campaign, and if you take into consideration a lot more super delegates in those days and a lot less primaries, who knows what McCarthy's numbers could have been? Facetious? George, you have spent your life knowing the distinctions between facetious and factful, understatement and over statement, sarcasm and satire. I would say a combination of overstatement and understatement, with a few facts thrown in. I assume you didn't recognize that because you expect irony all the time from me. But this brings to mind that I do miss those uses of overstatement and understatement, in addition to more description, that is not part of your retirement musings. I know you are just banging out thoughts and not columns; I'm saying I just miss the old stuff.
7/9/2016 10:14:33 pm
Hansen, thanks. A lot of the fun of writing the column was getting to new places and seeing live events and writing on deadline. The blog is something else. I miss the immediacy -- and also being at major or minor events. Glad I'm not working.....basta ya, as we say -- but it was fun being someplace and describing it. GV
7/9/2016 09:35:35 am
Even reading about the trials and tribulations of a favorite sports team offers needed relief these days! As a social species we accomplish much through teamwork, and that's why leadership is important. So, Sandy Alderson for President -- and Terry Collins is an even better Joe Biden!
7/9/2016 09:54:08 am
Brian, you sound like somebody I know.
7/9/2016 11:40:27 am
Years ago President Clinton sat in with the band on Martha's Vinyard at a party for press sec. Didi Myers, (Bruce Martin, percussion). The "Pres" played his tenor on a Blues, and held his own on a more complicated tune. I understand the military spends over $400 million on bands, (about three times the total expenditure for the National Endowment for the Arts). SOOO---The Commander in Chief should get him a gig in the Army and have the band stationed, indefinitely in Wassilla, AK. (Poetic justice, location.)
7/9/2016 12:49:13 pm
Ed; I met him in South Africa. 2010. He told a bunch of World Cup writers all about soccer.
7/9/2016 09:06:23 pm
I see zero difference between that presumptively loving couple. Joined at the hip in disgusting discredit.
7/9/2016 10:12:47 pm
Brian, here's a couple of footnotes. Life has twists and turns dep't.
7/10/2016 12:23:04 am
Ed, don't go there. I know too much detail. I leave it at this. I would never vote for either of them.
7/12/2016 08:17:32 am
Don, i know Rusty since he was a baby on the Houston Colts.
7/11/2016 03:23:34 pm
Back to baseball. I am home sick today but jusy finished this weeks nyt acrostic. Baseball themed with some nice wordplay, esoterica (i won't say what oddly named pitch is an answer to a clue) and a philosophical observation from one of baseball's more philosophically inclined players.
7/12/2016 08:19:11 am
Josh, thanks for letting people know. I am impressed that you do them at all, much less finish. Be well, GV
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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.