Thursday, April 1, 2021

Lindor Good, COVID-19 Bad

There are 341 million reasons
why this man is smiling
I was up a bit late last night, so I was still awake when we received the great news that Francisco Lindor and the Mets had reached an agreement on a 10-year deal. I got to enjoy that feeling of euphoria for about 12 hours, then the news came down that Opening Day for the Mets won't take place until at least Saturday. It's a shame that such a great piece of news had to be followed so quickly by such a crappy one. That's how it always seemed to be when the Wilpons ran the show. Of course, if we needed any proof that was no longer the case, we could look at the terms of Lindor's contract and have a good laugh at the idea that Fred and Jeff would have ever considered forking over that kind of cash — at least to anything other than a blatant pyramid scheme.

So, I guess I'll have to put aside my eagerness to see our new long-term Met and his teammates take the field until at least Saturday. Actually, if how things went last year is any guide, the Mets probably won't open until Monday against the Phillies. They'll decide to tank the weekend games, too, "out of an abundance of caution." So unfortunate that it didn't take any time at all for that tired, overused phrase to rear its ugly head in 2021.

Not that I would question the logic of using that caution. The last thing you would want from all of this would be for the Mets to take the field against the Nationals before all test results are back. If you think it sucks waiting a couple of extra days to play ball, imagine the Mets being shut down for a week or more awaiting covid test results because it turns out there were more Washington National players infected.

There's a lesson here, I guess. After living under the cloud of COVID-19 for more than a year, it sometimes feels as if I want it all to be over yesterday. I'm a couple of weeks away from getting my second dose of the Moderna vaccine. By a couple of weeks after that, I will be as protected as I can possibly be from the cloud that's been hanging over my life for so long. It feels like there really is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but this is proof positive that we haven't reached it yet.

MLB and its clubs did a good job of avoiding COVID-19 shutdowns during spring training, but it still remains to be seen how many will crop up until a significant number of the players are vaccinated. If team shutdowns become a thing again, at least for the next month or so, I wonder about the prudence of cutting the roster size back down from 28 to 26. If we start seeing a good number of makeup games this spring, including doubleheaders, teams could exhaust their pitching resources before Memorial Day.

It also shows how silly it was that MLB didn't work out a deal for the universal DH and expanded playoffs with the players this spring. With all of the concern about covering the innings for a full 162-game season combined with the threat of covid shutdowns, at least for the next month or so, this is just insane.

I used to be a no DH in the National League diehard, but I'm long past that now. Not that pitchers were ever good hitters or even competent bunters, but with the DH encroaching on high school and college baseball, they might as well have a contest where a fan comes into a game and tries to bunt a runner over. Get the runner on first over to second, and you could win A BRAND NEW CAR!

Even in spring training, the Mets waited until the last couple of weeks to allow their pitchers to hit. Pitchers hitting are just an afterthought; the injuries that take place because of the rule are stupid. And even the "strategy" is basic by-the-numbers stuff. I could almost always flawlessly predict when a pitcher will be left in to hit for himself and when he will be pinch-hit for, but that doesn't make me suitable for a Major League manager's job. Sigh...

Anyway, when I woke up this morning, I thought the wait was almost over for the new and improved New York Mets to take the field. Turns out I'll be waiting a bit longer. At least I know I won't be spending the next few months listening to an endless debate over whether the Mets should have signed their shortstop to a deal. As for those who want to pour water on the extension, you'll pardon me if I just can't get myself to give a damn. I've waited for many, many years to root for a club that was willing to spend like a big-market franchise.

Please stay safe, be well, and take care — for just a little longer. I look forward to the day when my posts no longer end with those words.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos.

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