It’s not uncommon to hear retired athletes — and the fans who watched them when they were children — to claim that the teams of yore could beat the teams of today.
Sometimes this is just an exercise in comparing players. Was Mantle better than Trout?, etc. As far as that goes it’s fine. When we get involved in those conversations I think we’re all tacitly assuming adjustments for era and equipment and level of competition and stuff. Who was greater for their time is the inquiry we’re really making, even if we don’t really say so.
Other times, though, it’s just nonsense. Like when someone says the 1939 Yankees would beat the 1998 Yankees head to head, despite the clear size, speed, skill and specialization advances that the latter team has over the former. Nothing personal against DiMaggio and friends, but athletic progress is ever-forward and the players of today would crush the players of yesterday. If you doubt this, go look at track and field and weightlifting records and any other athletic accomplishment for which there are objective forms of measurement.
Yet the unreasonable beliefs persist. This week they’re floating around the NBA, as the Golden State Warriors stand on the brink of sweeping their way through the playoffs. As this happens, people are arguing about whether the 1990s Bulls or the 1980s Celtics or Lakers teams were better. Which seems comical to me absent era adjustments and the like. If you’re not making that kind of comp but, rather, are arguing that if you put those teams in a time machine and brought them to the present day, they’d beat the Warriors, you’re crazy.
I think their coach, Steve Kerr, put it best:
It may do violence to your childhood memories to think that Mickey Mantle would be merely good today and the merely good players of that era wouldn’t crack a big league lineup, but it’s true.
PITTSBURGH — The New York Mets will have to dig out of an early-season hole without star first baseman Pete Alonso.
The leading home run hitter in the majors will miss three-to-four weeks with a bone bruise and a sprain in his left wrist.
The Mets placed Alonso on the 10-day injured list Friday, retroactive to June 8. Alonso was hit in the wrist by a 96 mph fastball from Charlie Morton in the first inning of a 7-5 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.
Alonso traveled to New York for testing on Thursday. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but the Mets will be missing one of the premier power hitters in the game as they try to work their way back into contention in the NL East.
“We got better news than it could have been,” New York manager Buck Showalter said. “So we take that as a positive. It could have been worse.”
New York had lost six straight heading into a three-game series at Pittsburgh that began Friday. Mark Canha started at first for the Mets in the opener. Mark Vientos could also be an option, though Showalter said the coaching staff may have to use its “imagination” in thinking of ways to get by without Alonso.
“I’m not going to say someone has to step up and all that stuff,” Showalter said. “You’ve just got to be who you are.”
Even with Alonso in the lineup, the Mets have struggled to score consistently. New York is 16th in the majors in runs scored.
The team also said Friday that reliever Edwin Uceta had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Uceta initially went on the IL in April with what the team called a sprained left ankle. He is expected to be out for at least an additional eight weeks.
New York recalled infielder Luis Guillorme and left-handed reliever Zach Muckenhirn from Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets sent catcher Tomás Nido to Triple-A and designated reliever Stephen Nogosek for assignment.
Nogosek is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 13 games this season.