For business reasons, my friend had to stay overnight in Queens. His hotel window looked out on the architectural jumble that is New Shea and the lumpy mounds of Chop Shop City (foreground), under ice and snow.
The good news is that the ball park did not sink into the muck over the winter. In this most unlovely of places, something glorious will happen on April 13, the home opener against the Phillies. Perhaps the Yankees will also be starting another season around then.
My question is, what is it that baseball junkies miss the most in the off-season?
Is it the games themselves -- outfielders going back on a fly ball, hitters putting the ball in play to advance a runner, the fundamentals that drive the sport?
Is it the arguments, of theological nature, about saving a few seconds on every pitch, or the use of instant replay, or all the new mathematical gauges?
Shaun Clancy of the Irish baseball pub Foley's on W. 33 St. advances the theory that it is history: something we see today reminds us of the past. It is true. Juan Lagares, going back on a ball, reminds me of Curt Flood, 40 years ago.
A pitcher who can hit in the National League, where they play Real Baseball, reminds me of Don Newcombe or Bob Lemon or Bob Gibson. Then we start arguing about the Designated Hitter gimmick. If we start now, we may settle things by opening day.
What do you miss in the off-season?
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.