BOOM! Eppler Forced Line-Up On Buck In Failed NY Mets Season
Over the past decade, the development of the daily line-up card, more importantly who's on it and where, has become more of an organizational decision, rather than one that sits solely with the team's manager. For a grizzled veteran skipper, like Buck Showalter, that has been a dooming change.
To an old schooler like Buck, you earn your way into the line-up. In baseball, like cooking, too many cooks certainly spoil the broth. That's why, when 38-year old, Harvard grad, David Stearns got hired as the New York Mets' president of baseball operations, Showalter had to be holding on to the World Series trophy, in order to hold on to his job. His last boss, Billy Eppler, apparently didn't make it easier for Buck to hold onto his job, either.
In an article written by Mike Puma of nypost.com, reportedly, in the beginning of the season, DH Daniel Vogelbach was slumping, as he did most of the year, except for August. Showalter wanted to replace Vogelbach in the position. Puma said that a team source told him that Buck was told he could not do that by Billy Eppler.
In addition Showalter considered Vogelbach too slow-footed when he did get on base and didn't hit for enough power. It got so bad, that at the trade deadline, Buck was "openly questioning why Vogelbach was still on the team." This is one reason that many, like me, are shocked that Steve Cohen seemingly forced David Stearns to keep Billy Eppler on his staff.
What effects did those extra Vogelbach at-bats have on the Mets season? Well, Daniel Vogelbach led off innings 64 times this season and batted .203 with 21 strike-outs. Boy, that will get the old momentum going for any team. In the early months, as the Mets were still trying to hold onto relevance, Vogelbach hit .175 in May and .200 in June with 107 at-bats. How many of those AB's were opportunities that Buck wanted another player at the plate? How many rallies were squashed and as a result, the Mets lost the game? What other decisions were forced on Showalter by Eppler? Sorry Mets fans. I'm not saying David Stearns should have kept Buck, but he shouldn't have been the one to pay the price for Billy Eppler's mistakes.
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