This very young baseball season has been so much fun, just to have the sport back but obviously for the 10-3 record through Sunday.
Then Jerry Blevins received a fractured arm and Travis d'Arnaud a fractured hand within minutes of each other as the Mets beat the Marlins.
Since the first weird days of 1962, Mets fans have known that following this team demands great mood shifts. But this is ridiculous, after promising the Higher Power, just get me through this nuclear winter of Little Anthony and the No-Names and let me watch Juan Lagares chase fly balls. .
Baseball is liberation from the yammering of cable news. .
It’s sticking up for Bartolo Colon’s right to start opening day and watching him win his first three starts – and driving in runs in two consecutive games – and fielding his position, for goodness’ sakes.
I went to opening day at New Shea, hordes of macho males (and females, too), whacked on alcohol or testosterone or who knows what, conducting the rites of spring that reminded me of Brueghel and Bosch, collaborating on their epic St. Patrick’s Day in the Lower Depths of Penn Station.
Nobody watched the game.
Back home, games are faster, so much faster so that you cannot click away and watch a snippet of a movie you never knew existed. Now, when you click back, there is already an out and a runner on first.
Congratulations, baseball, for making those lugs stay in the batter’s box.
The Mets and the Other Team in Town have opened with division rivals. This is a wonderful thing because the games have extra value for post-season possibilities, but more immediately because they bring home the familiar faces, the worthy oppositions.
In the Madoff Era, the Mets have been the soft underbelly of the National League. Now they are going through the first two weeks – Bryce Harper and the Nationals, Andrelton Simmons and the Braves, Chase Utley and the Phillies, Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins.
But what is Ryan Howard doing lurking in the Phillies’ dugout? One thing I hate about contemporary big-biz baseball: the looming salary dump, further devaluing gallant players who got a bit old or a bit hurt.
After two weeks, the timid, repressed optimist dares to whisper, “Wait…those teams aren’t that great right now.” Spring. Early spring. False spring. Who knows?
Out-of-town box scores vanish from the printed page. You could spend an entire breakfast or commute checking the box scores. Now you have to read the front page. Yikes.
But at least there is the two-week glory of watching Soft Hands Lucas Duda hitting to the left side, playing grounders like a big cat. Sandy Alderson was right. This guy is no oaf.
Then again, how could the Mets send down Eric Campbell and open the season with a four-player bench? Campbell came back swinging hard -- and his throws from third base are special, too. Now the Mets have to replace two players who have been so vital in these early days.
Meanwhile, on the team from another borough, Alex Rodriguez, the man we love to hate, is keeping the Anonymous Yankees almost respectable. Maybe he will shame the owners into paying him his bonus.
Pay-Rod, the working man’s hero. Who woulda thought?
“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.