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?
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.