It is a pleasure to watch post-season baseball -- if only to observe a better brand of ball than the wretched grade I have been following during the season.
I am referring to my twisted loyalty to the Mets. (Long retired, I can openly admit this sick little tendency.)
In the post-season, outfielders can track a ball and get in position to throw home. Infielders don’t always double clutch before throwing to first. First basemen scoop up bad throws. Catchers block errant pitches.
And throwback of all throwbacks, the occasional hitter can make the occasional adjustment and swat an outside pitch to the opposite field.
I love watching Houston play (Altuve!) and I love watching the Red Sox play (Betts!) – the ultimate truism; what’s not to love? – and I am only sorry one of them must go down in the American League series.
Even the Yankees were admitting the better team won in their concluded series, which is gracious but also blatantly evident.
The Yankees were built for their latter-day Ruthville and Marisville in right field. They also seemed totally committed to the Cult of the Launch Angle, which has taken over baseball in recent years like killer algae on the seashore.
Take-a-hack has informed the formation of teams. Sluggers slug with permission from the analytics bunch in the Bat Cave of baseball. No shame in striking out.
However, the Red Sox also have retro skills in making contact and stealing bases successfully, when strategically needed.
The smart ones adjust. Jacob DeGrom of the now mercifully hibernating Mets had an epic season because he figured out that hitters were swinging from their butts in arcs approved by the new breed of baseball – Pak Man baseball.
Hitters were hacking at pitches from ankles to waist to produce that beloved launch arc. DeGrom fooled them by pitching strikes up near the letters.
Imagine if DeGrom had a team behind him.
Sorry, it’s been a long season.
The Yankees went out and acquired Giancarlo Stanton, from their good pal Cap’n Jeter in Miami, and Stanton had a rocky Red Sox series.
This is quite enough to earn the nickname Mister December from a Yankee-fan friend of mine. (Stanton came to the Yankees last December.) The fans were booing Stanton as he struck out in the final failed rally Tuesday evening, and it may carry over.
(Imagine what the Boss would do about the snafu involving Luis Severino's rushed warmup on Monday or the whiffing of Stanton. You know which Boss.)
Now I get to watch George Springer of the Astros and some of those spirited, interchangeable Red Sox.
Plus, I confess, I still get a charge out of seeing “Dodgers” on a baseball jerseyI plan to enjoy good baseball the next couple of weeks.
Mets fans deserve it.
10/10/2018 10:20:58 am
10/10/2018 12:23:43 pm
Thank you. A new name on the site. Nice to see you. GV
10/10/2018 11:19:14 am
10/10/2018 12:22:56 pm
Muito obrigado, amigo minho
10/10/2018 06:20:38 pm
Thanks for this. It sounds sort of romantic - "long suffering Mets fan", but is there really any other way to be a Mets fan? Your "rant" as you described this piece in your Tweet was sweet and helped me to realize what I miss about baseball when all I watch is the Mets. Sure Keith and Ron and Gary are fine, and I can take solace in the wonderfulness of De Grom, but your piece made me realize what I'm missing about well played baseball when all I watch is the Mets. And Michael Powell helps get me from day to day.
10/10/2018 10:48:25 pm
Hi, another new name on the site. Great.
10/10/2018 07:24:35 pm
My dear George,
10/10/2018 10:51:04 pm
Hansen, historically you have me right, but I came to peace with the Yankees during the Bernie-Jeter-Posada-Pettitte-Rivera age.
10/10/2018 07:51:45 pm
This is beyond insight. It’s absolutely brilliant analysis. Thoroughly enjoyable.
10/10/2018 10:51:33 pm
Brian, thanks. GV
10/10/2018 09:52:45 pm
10/10/2018 10:54:26 pm
Bruce, bon voyage.
10/10/2018 11:05:46 pm
10/11/2018 10:50:55 am
George writes : "Imagine if DeGrom had a team behind him. Sorry, it’s been a long season."
Alan D. Levine
10/14/2018 04:26:39 pm
Georgr--Back in the 1970s, I read a book written by an MIT professor in which he used statistical studies to propose radical changes to baseball. The one that stands out was his recommendation that relievers start and pitch several innings and that starters come in to pitch multiple innings later in the game. The book was a cult success among mathematicians and statisticians and (of course) was studiously ignored by anyone connected to organized baseball. (Bill James was probably still in high school.) Now, lo and behold, what the prof suggested seems to have been discovered. Do you have any recollection of this book?
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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.