Pardon the New York-centric take on the post-season baseball, but we’d better do this fast, inasmuch as I don’t see the Mets and Yankees playing a Subway Series.
The Yankees look tattered as they prepare for their wild-card match with Houston on Tuesday.
They are not the same without Mark Teixeira. Beltran and A-Rod gave it their best shot.
This is not wishful thinking on my part. I would never do such a thing.
The Mets are not the same, either. This was evident in the last few weeks of the regular season. National League pitchers were going outside on Yoenis Cespedes. Then a little more outside. Then way outside. And he kept swinging. Those guys in the stands taking notes were sending emails to the home office confirming what the American League already knew; this guy can be pitched to.
But what a wonderful run it was.
Mets fans need to thank Terry Collins and worthies like Granderson and Wright and Familia and the pitchers, young and old. It was fun. May still be fun for a while.
Meantime, the Mets won the duel of the general managers. in their division. Sandy Alderson made a prophet out of my friend Steve Kettmann, who wrote a book called “Baseball Maverick” with the daring subtitle: “How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets.” Seemed like over-reaching in March. Turned out to be correct.
The Mets fans should also thank Mike Rizzo, the general manager of the Nationals, who did not dismiss Matt Williams in mid-season when it was clear, absolutely clear, that the Nats were less than the sum of their parts.
The Mets could still have some retro fun in October but they need to hang onto those 45 days from Alderson's grand revival at the trading deadline.
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.