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The Joys of a Crowd

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I was in Kauffman Stadium this evening, watching the Red Sox take on the Royals. It was a nice game and it’s always fun to see the home team win when you don’t have a rooting interest. I had a pretty nice seat just outside of first base, as you can see above. Few interesting moments. Adalberto Mondesi hit the longest home run I’ve ever seen in a major league game, a 464 foot crushing shot down the right field line. It may still be flying. There was the very unusual 6-4-2 double play. Saw a pickoff at first from a right handed pitcher as well. There’s been lots of talk about the decline of decent baserunning in baseball and there was a good share of that tonight. Fun to watch though.

Nice park, beer scene there is only OK because Boulevard has what seems to be a monopoly on those taps (not really a complaint in itself, I had a nice IPA; somewhat surprisingly they didn’t have the Tank 7 on tap, which is what I know it for. Not that such a beer would probably be very good in the blast furnace that is the Midwest this week). It’s true that the KC sports complex is in suburban hell land, but it’s been that way since the early 70s. I can definitely recommend Crane Brewing if you want a pregame beer and like sours. Really quite nice, maybe not life changing, but tasty and only a few miles away. They had some other beers too, but it’s a sour-based brewery so I had a couple nice low-alcohol and high-flavor beers, the best combo.

While I am planning a series of posts on my observations from this part of the country soon, I did want to write about this tonight. And that’s because I wanted to say how wonderful it is to be a human as part of a giant human crowd of people doing human things, in this case at a quite full ballpark (not so much reflected in this photo that I took in the first inning. Get to games on time people!). The pandemic was terrible and yet, as the comments to Scott’s post from the other night really drove home, there’s a lot of people who are using the pandemic as an excuse to wish the world was different and really would prefer that they never have to go outside again. While to each their own on a personal level, that’s a horrible thing to advocate for on a public health level, largely because the majority of people are going to tell you to go jump in the Missouri River when you say this.

Now, a slight majority of Americans are vaccinated, though that goes up a good bit when you make it 18 and above. But a lot are not! And that’s very bad. I don’t really know how to reach those who refuse to get vaccinated. Some of them are very dumb people. But at this point, I hardly care what happens to them. I’ve been fully vaccinated for about 6 weeks and I am back to my regular life. If they don’t want to do the basic health precautions to allow them to do things safely, I’m not going to sacrifice my lifestyle to them. And neither should you.

In the end, this is a deeply broken nation. But as we have discovered, it’s not as if the US is the only nation where huge numbers of people are believing vaccine disinformation. Look at Hong Kong for instance, a place with a very long history of dealing with epidemic disease effectively and yet it’s still a problem.

If you are fully vaccinated, plus a couple of weeks, allow me to make a recommendation. Get away from the computer. Go outside. Be around other people. Even if you don’t talk to them (and trust me, I prefer not to), just listen to them talk. See them. Get energy from them.

Again, you do what you want to do. But everyone who talked about taking public health seriously over the last 18 months needs to also take public health seriously today. And the responsible message about public health in mid-June 2021 is that if you are fully vaccinated, you should 100% be engaging in the lifestyle you love, going to bars, parties, ball games, concerts, raves, whatever floats your boat. Mental health is as important to life as physical health and a whole lot of people are going to prioritize the former over the latter. When appropriate, we have to encourage people to live their lives. And that’s precisely the needed message right now. At the very least, we should be talking about the glories of the crowd, even if you don’t personally want to be in one.

In conclusion, humanity is wonderful and horrible at same time. Might as well take advantage of the former when you are safe and are also not going to spread disease, rather than focus exclusively on the latter.

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