Sunday, July 12, 2020

Aroldis Chapman's Kevlar Super-Jeep didn't protect him from the real danger

Bad news travels at 101 mph. Thus, you've probably heard by now that Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for COVID-19 and disappeared into quarantine. In the meantime, Aaron Boone says Chris Britton will probably serve as the Yankee closer. The Big Wheel will turn. The Death Star will try to shrug this off. 

"A fully operational Death Star..." That's what Brian Cashman called us - a long long time ago, and far far away. It was a joke, and it was funny at the time. Nobody winced. It was a different world - B.C. - Before Corona. We are now entering "A.D." - After Donald. (Or After Dystopia, take your pick. "Death Star" has an unfortunate ring to it. The moral? Be careful how you define yourself, even humorously.

And there's a moral for El Chapo, whose most recent purchase was a huge, six-wheel, Kevlar-lined jeep, designed to crush road blocks and cruise city streets choked with marauders. What it didn't have was disinfectant. All the Kevlar in the world could not protect him. Neither could Andrew Cuomo.

In barely a week, the Yankees have lost to the virus their best position player - DJ LeMahieu - and their most feared closer. This, in a city that seemed to have squelched COVID, at least when compared to the urban hot-spots currently exploding across the south. We don't know what will happen to either player, (or the third, Luis Cessa.) What we do know is that more Yankees inevitably will test positive, and eventually, somebody will pay an incredible price for performing in a made-for-TV season designed to distract us from the overwhelming sadness. 

Ah... but listen to me blathering on, as if I have answers. I got nothing. America needs baseball, as children need schools. But in the absence of answers, here's my question: Until this virus is under control - and it most certainly is not - aren't we just kidding ourselves by sending players out there, so we can pretend all is fine?

We must keep Chapman in our thoughts. He's about to face what could be the fight of his life. Surely, his survival odds are great. He's an elite athlete in peak condition. Surely, he will shrug this off. Then again, nobody knows, do they? Nobody fucking knows... Could the virus compromise some part of him, some anatomical weakness, and keep him from being the pitcher he was? Players return from tweaked hamstrings. From COVID, we are still just learning.

It sure would be nice to watch Yankee games. Four hours of pure escape. But at what price? And who pays it? And when does the distraction become the sorrow itself? We may soon find out, and we might not like the results.

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