What's a Stolen World Series These Days?
I’d like to wax moralistic about the baseball scandal that got a manager and a general manager of a championship team fired on Monday.
I feel cheated because I fell in love with that Houston team three-four years ago, so much talent, so much charisma with Altuve and Springer and seemingly admirable guys like Hinch and Cora and Beltrán.
Now, as a Mets fan, I want to know how this scandal affects their new manager, Carlos Beltrán, but according to the commissioner, you can’t really bust a dugout full of players. (Plus, players have a union.)
So it seems Beltrán will be the manager. Just hide the garbage-pail cans.
So many scandals, so much cheating.
I'll admit, I used to think it was funny when ball players I knew were caught with sandpaper or thumb tacks in their pockets to doctor the ball, or a catcher had a sharp edge on his belt buckle so that the two-out, two-strike pitch would swerve downward, game over.
Then, a generation ago, everybody had new muscles all over them, and players were whacking 50 or 60 or 70 home runs a year. Looks to me like burly, wired pitchers were cheating, too.
Then again, out in the Real World, public figures are lying every time they move their lips, and have reputations for not paying their bills and cheating on their wives, while preachers tell their flocks to vote for them.
Just saying. No names mentioned.
After I absorbed the breaking news of suspensions and subsequent firing of Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, I flipped to the news section of the Times and read a piece by the great Michael Kimmelman. He is one of the jewels of the paper, who has morphed from art critic to covering the social implications of architecture over the world.
As described by Kimmelman, that new playground for the 1 per cent, known as Hudson Yards – Heaven forbid New York should try to house its working class – is trying to slip a two-out, two-strike pitch past the city by building a huge garage on the west side of the playpen for the rich. (Never mind that the city is already choking on cars, and trucks and limos, plus amateurs swerving around on rented bikes.)
The new garage would loom right where a much-needed rail tunnel to the American mainland should be rounding into shape – except that big-mouth Chris Christie blew up the project when he was governor of New Jersey. His one-finger salute to society is surely the first thing on Christie’s lifetime resumé.
Now, like some pitchers I used to know, the builder of Hudson Yards was going to slip one by the public. This little surprise would loom over the High Line, the quirky elevated walkway with the great views that has enhanced the city and even encouraged people to get out and walk. The friendly folks at Hudson Yards were going to pour the concrete and block out the view and explain it all later, as builders do all over New York.
Fortunately, Kimmelman and the NYT got word of this Down near the bottom, he included a quote from a state senator about the builder of Hudson Yards:
“The last thing New Yorkers need is a wall, and from all people, Steve Ross.”
That, Kimmelman dutifully noted, was a reference to Ross’s recent fund-raising efforts for, oh but you guessed it, President Trump.
It is not clear whether our public servants can undo the mischief, the trick pitch, from the Vaseline on the back of Steve Ross’ neck.
Meantime, the Astros will find another manager and general manager, and there will be a baseball season.
No matter who is ingesting what, or stealing what signals, the new season will somehow seem more wholesome than just about anything else going down these days.
1/15/2020 06:36:26 pm
A very well written piece, George, that flowed quite well for one with multiple subjects.
1/20/2020 10:45:50 am
Hansen, thanks, man. I agree about "gamesmanship" -- Briana Scurry cheating off the line in the shootout with China, She tossed...and she won. But using electronic aides specifically banned....you as a lawyer will know what I mean with the next two words: Potter Stewart.
1/15/2020 08:06:28 pm
1/20/2020 10:47:57 am
Bruce, my mom, approaching 90, would see her oldest child (me), a geezer, and she would shake her head as if to say, "How?"
1/15/2020 10:46:58 pm
The Red Sox fired their manager, (under “The T?)
1/20/2020 10:49:52 am
Bill Barr (Trump's Personal Lawyer) for GM.
1/19/2020 07:49:36 pm
Wasn't there a theory that the Giants stole a sign before Bobby Thompson took Branca deep? To me, stealing signs should be legal. Catchers and coaches have always tried to disguise them so they can't be stolen, acknowledging that stealing them is part of the game. Just like American football, too many technical rules. Let the boys play the game - at all levels.
1/20/2020 10:57:52 am
Andy: Great to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and your teams. I do separate the skills like signal-stealing from 2B from the technological spying, expressly forbidden. Plus, hitters are in terrible danger if they get wrong banging sound from garbage cans -- leaning in for a curve, and the pitcher throws high and inside? Willie Mays never wanted signals. Some old Giants admitted it 20 years ago. Saly Yvars, backup catcher from Westchester, offended Branca, They had played together in amateur ball. Sal Maglie part of that 1951 Giant team, used to teach pitchers in the minors. Pitcher friend of mine told me the other day that Maglie told his pitchers (Buffalo, 1965) that the hitter better hope his helmet was working, if he tried to take a peek at the catcher's signals Sal the Barber. It sounds brutal but also frontier justice., Then again, one of my good friends got hit by accident over the eye...lived to play again, but it was ugly (I saw it.) So I try not to be too glib about 90-plus fastballs. GV
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.