Monday, March 16, 2020

The Yankee team decision to stay intact in Florida might backfire

"Self-quarantine." Now, there's a word you don't hear everyday, eh, Chauncy? 

(Note: A friend of mine argues that, somewhere in history, our definitions of "masturbate" and "floss" got flipped. For what it describes, "masturbation" is too technical, too clinical, too long a word. Instead, we should be... "flossing!" And for my money, "self-quarantining" should mean "experimenting with hallucinatory drugs.")

So, you ask, what does this have to do with the Death Star? (Hmmm, should we drop that name?) Well, yesterday, the work-from-home Gammonites reported that a low-level Yankee farmhand - a young Cuban pitcher destined for Single A - became the first pro ball player to be diagnosed with corona virus. Yes, he's the Jackie Robinson of COVID-19.

The Yankees say this pitcher was working at the team's minor league facilities - next door to the Tampa mother ship - thus, he wouldn't have shared soap with Gleyber and Gardy, so all is well, don't worry, no cause for alarm...

Well, if we know anything as Yankee fans, it is that there is always cause for alarm.

Two days ago, the Yankee players "unanimously" decided to remain in Tampa. (I use quotes because I suspect at least a few players ditched private fears for team unity.) It seemed a refreshing bolt of confidence. The Yankees were showing their commitment to winning our first world championship in - God, must I say it? - eleven effing years. And - look - I'm not complaining. It gave me a reason to think games would soon resume, and these days, I'll happily devour any hope the world flings my way. 

But now, we see the dark side of that decision: It could backfire. If the Yankees return home to their families, wherever they may be, they can each self-quarantine - (and, of course, floss!) When the coast is clear, maybe around May 1, they could start again. 

But if the Yankees confine themselves to one complex, no matter how well they wash their hands, they run the risk of an outbreak that could take down this roster. There is a safety in being dispersed. 

Of course, these are young, vigorous athletes - perfect specimens of health, right? Each should be able to shrug off this virus, no sweat, right? 

Well, obviously, I dunno WTF to do. Maybe we should sign Anthony Fauci as first-base coach? 

What I do know is that the Yankees just finished the most irrelevant month of spring training in the history of irrelevance. Certainly, all Grapefruit League outings are meaningless. But this pandemic added a special layer of pointlessness, beyond the magnificent meaninglessness of anything we've encountered in the past. We've lapped ourselves. We just swam in the ocean for an hour, and now realize we didn't know which direction we were going.

I've been hoping MLB could actually play games in the month of April, maybe for TV audiences. (The YES Classics only remind me of what I'm missing.) It would raise spirits across not only the Yankiverse, but America. Now, I'm not so sure that can happen. The games will place the teams, and their families, in jeopardy.

I'm old. I thought I'd lived long enough to see everything. I was wrong. Self-quarantining... now there's a word.


JM said...

I remember the deluge of assassinations in the 60s, the slow unfolding of Watergate, the tragedy of Vietnam, the mindless drift of the 70s, Mount St. Helens ashes covering my car in upstate New York, the rollicking 80s in the city...but this reaction to the coronavirus is something new. I have a feeling it's gone way past a rational response, that we're in "Soylent Green is people!!" territory, thanks to the culture of ass-covering that pervades our politics and general society and the 24-hour media's need to hype. But what do I know. I thought Shane Spencer was going to be something special. I got sucked into the Kevin Maas buildup. On the other hand, I never warmed up to Winfield.

Beats me. This is all really weird.

TheWinWarblist said...

JM, COVID-19 is a once a century catastrophe, and we're still in the earliest phases of this. The orchestra is still warming up; the first movement hasn't even been played yet. Whatever panic there is, will not help, but don't think this is just another flu. It isn't. It is the first plague of the new millennium. If I could I would reach through the computer and throttle every imbecilic anon who is posting that this isn't a big deal. It is the hugest deal in the world now and for the rest of this year.

This is the best site for info on the corona-virus outbreak.

Johns Hopkins. A worldwide leader in medicine. Not some Fox News addled anon, may they all drown in their own sputum.

ranger_lp said...

This info might help here...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Wait, what, JM???? Silent Green is PEOPLE?

Damn, I've had that movie on my video list for months and only got to watch the first half!

Anonymous said...





HoraceClarke66 said...

Winfield was one of those guys who needed a big hug, JM. The usual Steinbrenner impatience was not for him. He needed to be promoted take in, made to feel welcome.

Some guys are like that. Leo Durocher, not a nice man, always made sure to really look after Willie Mays and build him up.

Ballplayers are all different, and usually like thoroughbreds: easily spooked, suspicious, given to bouts of lassitude or mania inexplicable to the rest of us.

TheWinWarblist said...

Are those bouts of lassitude and mania really that inexplicable to our commentariat?

TheWinWarblist said...

Please practice social distancing for the next several weeks. Please. We're all old. I don't want to lose any of you.

Not even you Puckered.

Alphonso said...

I saw a lady interviewed on tv yesterday.

It was from a street in LA, and the mayor had just announced the closing of all bars. She was dismayed:

She said: ( 'If this is the end of the world, I certainly don't want to be sober when it arrives."

I agree.

I watched a mexican soccer game yesterday, to which fans had been banned. It is unwatchable. Like watching practice of no consequence.

ranger_lp said...

MLB Opening Day pushed to mid-May at earliest

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I hate to be the Voice of Optimism, but . . .

a. All of my grandparents were Italians. I've been to Italy a number of times. The fact that Italy screwed this up royally might mean not very much. For one thing, Italians do a lot of hugging, touching. That's not a typical American thing. Here, when we get in a line at an airport, we actually stand IN A LINE. At the Naples Airport the last time I was there (2016), the "line" was an amorphous, touching, pushing, yelling blob. Big difference.

b. The virus is in its early stages. Here's one thing I know from doing research LONG before 2020 -- viruses mutate. They can get stronger. They can get weaker. They can just go away. (and -- yes -- they can then come back).

[why I did so much research: A non-virus almost killed me in 2000. Legionnaire's Disease. 25 days in the hospital. Caused by a bacteria, not infectious; the bacteria doesn't want to live forever (the virus does) -- so if you get this, it wants to kill you. My wife saved my life by calling an ambulance -- I would have died that night, the doctors said. YES, I do sometimes wonder if she's sorry she did that!]

c. Panic is a reasonable response. I've been to Africa a number of times, and I can tell you this: The last Zebra or Impala to panic at the approach of the lions (they hunt as a pack) or the leopard (lone-wolf-type hunters) is the one that turns into Lunch. So I don't poo-poo the panic. However, like JM -- I have been around, too. Remember The Swine Flu? I can remember some panic back then.

d. It's the job of people like Dr. Fauci to make the rest of us take this illness seriously. That doesn't mean he's overdoing it; it also doesn't mean it's gonna happen the way his worst nightmares would have it. We need people like him to make the worst case crystal-clear to the rest of us. Esp. in a time when the political leadership appears to have made a mistake.

e. Keep track of the information that's been put in front of you: People get this Corona thing and yet do not die. Lots and lots of people in Wuhan got it, most of them are still kicking. Some of the infected do not get very sick at all. Does this mean some of us have built-in immunity? Does it mean the thing itself varies somewhat? Right now, no one knows. It's just a bit too early to dig 150 million graves.

f. Yes, our medical system is a nightmare. But to say we're "unprepared" is a joke. Who the heck would prepare for something that could be as bad as the coronavirus worst case? What would it cost any country this size to prepare for such a thing? Is a country with 330 million people supposed to have 100 million hospital beds? REALLY? Think about it.

g. Frequently, when I hear "coronavirus" on the TV, I go back to that old song, "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard." I keep singing it to myself. As it turns out, what's gone on in Italy in some places (including Sicily) -- as people are locked inside -- is that they are going to their windows or out onto their apartment porches and....singing and playing musical instruments. Good idea?

HoraceClarke66 said...

I know. I was calling Pence "The Queen of Corona" when he was named to head the effort.

Interesting stuff, Joe, and what a close call! Glad you're still with us.

And while no, you can't prepare completely for anything like this, every administration—Republican or Democrat—ought to have systems set up to activate where they can kick things into gear. In this case, for instance, start rounding up ventilators and making more; same thing for surgical masks, hospital beds. Make sure basic staples keep getting through (including toilet paper!)

Trump today just told Cuomo, who is actually on this, that he should "do more." Not helpful!

TheWinWarblist said...

JoeFob, you know I love you like a peculiar demented benign growth that cannot be completely excised, but by my jiggly bosom you got a lot wrong up there. COVID-19 appears to have a case fatality rate of around 1% under the best circumstances. No mutation will happen this year to drastically change that. Fear and panic are not the same. Please don't panic. Be brave if you can. You are right that most people will not be seriously ill, but they will be infectious and will transmit it to others who may become seriously ill. At risk individuals include anyone older that 60 y/o, the immunocompromised, those with other serious medical illnesses such as heart lung or kidney disease and anyone already weakened but a previous serious infection. No medical system is prepared for 100 million sick people; that's why we need to flatten the curve of infection. The slower this spreads the less likely we'll run out of hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators for the sickest people. That's what happened in Lombardy (which has one of the best health care systems in all of Europe). They were overrun. People are dying at home and in ERs because there's no way to give them care.

As for your last point, oh yes, please sing out your windows. Please sing. But practice social distancing too.

TheWinWarblist said...

Hoss, yes, you are correct. The NSA used to have a dedicated pandemic response team. It was formed after the H1N1 flu emergency. It was instrumental in limiting and controlling the Ebola, SARS and MERS outbreaks. It was actually the model for the world on how to respond to emerging illnesses. Trump shut it down in 2018. All of the institutional knowledge and expertise on what to do in this exact situation was discarded. So, yeah, we are unprepared and unprotected as a nation. Because of this administration. Oh, yeah, and there's this too, the CDC's budget has been drastically slashed over the last 3 years. They are less able to respond for lack of resources.

Fuck the President.

TheWinWarblist said...

Please don't hoard toilet paper. It's not a recognized treatment or mitigation strategy.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoarding duckhorn. As much as I can get my hands on.

Anonymous said...

That, and woodford.

13bit said...

Love you, Winnie.

As soon as I get a CT scan tomorrow and - knock wood - a good result, I can devote all of my energy to COVID-19 and this blog.

Keep the faith, y'all, and stay safe.


HoraceClarke66 said...


The big problem with Woodford? They put their bourbon and their rye in almost identical bottles. I love their bourbon, am not crazy about rye in general. But when friends ask what I'd like to drink for a present, they often get it mixed up.

First world problem? No, my friend. Drinking world problem. And we can all relate to that.

Anonymous said...

Bullitt is the same way. Fortunately, I like both varieties.

We'll all need to adapt through this crisis.

TheWinWarblist said...

Honestly, as long as the tequila is anejo I'm pretty happy. But I do prefer Herradura.

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