The Mets opened their series in Los Angeles Friday night and beat one of the best pitchers in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, with David Wright earning a 12-pitch walk in the first and then driving in two vital runs in the seventh. But you already know that.
(The Mets then got upended, in more ways than one, Saturday night. Plenty of opinions on that slide by Utley. See Comments below, and please add your own. But first, let's talk about the "paper" that made deadline two straight evenings with crazy stuff from LA.)
The other team that had a great night on Friday was New York Times, which delivered 115,000 copies of the paper, the version you can hold in one hand while eating a bagel with the other hand.
That paper was in my driveway in a nearby suburb at 7:30 AM – not bad for a game that ended after midnight. Tim Rohan, out in Los Angeles, completed his very readable article in a hurry and sent it to my friends in the Sports Department, who shaped it and sent it to the plant in College Point, Queens, where people were waiting for it.
We got it at 1:15. On presses at 1:26.
Overall, 98% on time, one late NJ truck by 3 mins.
That was my note from one of my friends in the handsome plant alongside the Whitestone Expressway.
The Times is doing quite well with its print edition, as other papers basically give up.
The coup on Friday night/Saturday morning reminds me of a similar night, Oct. 14-15, 1992, when Francisco Cabrera, an obscure Atlanta Brave, delivered the hit that won the National League pennant (and broke the hearts of a Pirate team about to be atomized by free agency.)
In the midnight hour, I found Cabrera in the melee on the field and rushed upstairs to write a column with a headline: His Name Is Francisco Cabrera.
A few hours later, I caught the first thing smoking, and was back in my driveway before noon. The paper was waiting for me. The column was in print.
I love the Web. I’m poking around on it all day. It’s the future. The Times does spectacular things on line. I also love print.
Look at the front page of the Sports Section Saturday – huge picture of Jacob deGrom, locks flopping, fastball flying, story by Tim Rohan, and below that two more excellent articles by esteemed colleagues -- Chicharito of Mexico by the Europe-based Sam Borden and the wretched sightlines at the hockey opener at the Barclays Center by Filip Bondy, recently departed from the fading Daily News, now doing the occasional piece for the Times.
The Mets would come back out and play again Saturday night. So would the Times. As one of my great bosses, Joe Vecchione, said a few minutes after the Times revamped in minutes on Mookie Night in 1986:
“We do it every day, Kid.”
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.