In war there is something called “preemptive strike”, which, essentially, is attacking a rival before the rival attacks you.
In Mets baseball, we may be experiencing something that I’d like to term “preemptive hype”, which is geared toward preparing the fan base for an inevitable fire sale.
The strategy is to hype up players who — presumably — will not be sold. Generally speaking, these are young (read: cheap) ballplayers. Suddenly, we fans are more stories about these young players — both on TV and in the media. Am I being a paranoid conspiracy theorist? Or does it behoove the Mets — who own and control their own TV network — to develop talking points that hype up players who will still be around as of August 1? Does it not make sense to have human interest stories told about young men such as Justin Turner, Dillon Gee, and others? After all, if the Mets do in fact sell off their high-priced veterans, the fans could have reason to stop showing up at the ballpark, and stop tuning in to SNY. So before the fire sale happens, it makes perfect sense to start talking up the guys who are most likely to be kept.
From a casual, cursory glance at some of the storylines of the past few days, I noticed a few instances of what might be evidence of “preemptive hype”. For example, Terry Collins identified Josh Thole as a “leader” on the Mets. Hmmm … not saying he’s not, but it is a bit unusual for someone who doesn’t play every day, and who has had issues with some of the pitchers (such as Mike Pelfrey). Another example is the very recent buzz that Bobby Parnell is a “future closer”. Yes, Parnell has pitched well very recently, and with his heat you’d hope he’d develop into a closer eventually, but he’s had stretches like this before — let’s see him pitch well for, say, 25 appearances, and against the same teams more than once, before we start talking about him being a closer.
What do you think? Is there something to this preemptive hype theory? Have you recognized any evidence of such a thing? Let me know in the comments.
Personally, I’ve noticed a few