Sandy Alderson Hires Kevin Long as Mets Batting Coach
Chicks dig the long ball.
In a win-win for everyone, Kevin Long takes a short trip across town to join the New York Mets as batting coach.
Long wins, because he doesn’t have to break his NYC apartment lease (his offseason home is in Arizona, I believe).
The Mets hitters win, because Long is an excellent batting coach.
Sandy Alderson wins, because now he has another coach on Terry Collins‘ staff that he hand-picked. Oh, you don’t think that’s relevant? Think again. There’s a reason Bob Geren is the bench coach, and it isn’t because of the thumbs-up/thumbs-down dance sensation that is sweeping across the nation. Though, I wonder if the hiring of Long paves the way for Jeff Wilpon to replace Geren? I’m not sure which coaches are “Jeff’s.” We know Collins and Tim Teufel are both of Fred Wilpon’s “guys,” and Alderson has Geren and Long, but there are still Dan Warthen, Ricky Bones, and Tom Goodwin to be accounted for. Hmm … is it possible Collins had the power to hire any of them?
Conspiracy theories aside, you’ll be happy to know that Kevin Long is a proponent of what has been described by some outlets as “Sandy Alderson’s hitting philosophy” — if you haven’t heard of it, it involves batters being disciplined, working counts, and swinging at good pitches. A novel, groundbreaking approach, I know, and I’m surprised Alderson hasn’t written a book or created a hitting DVD yet (Kevin Long HAS produced a DVD — it’s called Pro Hitter’s Workout and I recommend it).
Oh, yes, Long’s (Alderson’s?) hitting philosophy is the same as former Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens‘ — and Lamar Johnson‘s, for that matter. And it might be the same philosophy espoused by every hitting coach in MLB. And the minors. And on the planet. It seems that the idea of waiting for a good pitch to hit is a good one — good enough that it’s taught universally.
Can a hitting coach make a difference? This is where things get sketchy. If you say “yes,” then maybe you also believe that a manager can make a difference. Yet, we’ve been trained by the bright, MBA-carrying Ivy League executives proliferating baseball to think that a manager merely pushes buttons and executes the GM’s plan. And therein lies the conundrum: if a manager is mostly inconsequential, then, so too, must be his coaching staff? And if so, then why fire Hudgens, reassign Johnson, and hire Long?
My theory: for public relations purposes. Kevin Long is a known entity in New York, he is familiar. All New York Yankee beat writers respect and like Long. They’ve already written nice things about Long and positive things about what he may do for the Mets.
(For the record, I do believe coaches and managers can make a difference, and I like the hire, and I like Long — though I am biased as I met and worked with Long a few times during my days with Don Mattingly‘s now-defunct bat company, and found Long to be a GREAT guy.)
Am I really being cynical, or could there be a shred of truth to my conspiracy theory? Well, consider this: the Mets other known choice for batting coach was who? Ah, yes — former Met Dave Magadan. Oh, and there were also rumors about Bobby Abreu and Edgardo Alfonzo.
You tell me — in the comments.
Oh, and not-fer-nuttin, but … isn’t it against the Bud Selig Law to announce hirings / firings / transactions during the World Series? Just sayin’.