UPDATE: Mayne has corrected the record.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was lovin’ former catcher Brent Mayne’s blog. And I still am, but I just discovered that he’s tellin’ lies.
In his latest entry he decides to come clean and admit that he once told a hitter what pitch was coming. It was J.T. Snow. Here’s Mayne’s story:
It was my second year in the Bigs and we were playing the Yankees in
Kansas City towards the end of the season. Neither team had much to
play for and JT was one of the expanded roster call-ups for the Yanks . . . I wandered out to talk to the pitcher (I can’t remember who it was.) On
my way back, as I past JT to squat down, I mumbled at him “fastball
outside.” He promptly drilled a double to left field and that was that.
Like I said, that’s probably not why he got his first hit, he may have
been too nervous to even hear me. Then again, maybe that IS how he got his first hit and maybe I’M responsible for his whole career.
I love stories like that! Sadly, however, it appears to be a complete and total fabrication. Well, maybe that’s overstating things. J.T. Snow did make his major league debut with the Yankees against the Royals at the end of a season. It’s just everything after that which is wrong.
- Snow wasn’t a pinch hitter in that game, he had five plate appearances, failing to reach base every time. He never faced the Royals again as a Yankee.
- Snow did hit three doubles against the Royals in his career, but none of those fit Mayne’s descriptions either. The first one came in 1993 while he was with the Angels. But Mayne
didn’t catch in that game, Mike MacFarlane did. The second came in 1996, but Mayne wasn’t on the Royals anymore. He was on the Mets.
- Snow did eventually hit a double against the Royals while Mayne was catching. It happened during an interleague game in 2003 while Snow was with the Giants. Sadly, it doesn’t fit Mayne’s description either. The double came on the third pitch, not the first, and it was pulled down the right field line, not hit the opposite way like he says.
- Snow’s first hit of any kind against the Royals with Mayne behind the plate came on June 24, 1993. It was a single on 2-0 count with the Angels down 6 runs in the 9th inning. Given the score I suppose that could have been a tipped pitch, but we’re getting pretty far afield from Mayne’s story here.
Look, I’m not trying to embarrass Mayne here. His blog is a blast, and this particular post is almost 100% redeemed by the reference to “The Jerk” at the end. But still, one of the things that makes it hard to make any progress in analyzing and commenting on baseball is that there’s 150 years of accumulated baloney floating around that everyone takes as gospel.
Stuff like Mayne’s story is harmless, but how much of the rest of it isn’t, and how much history and insight have we lost because people have chosen to believe the myths instead of the facts, even if it’s understandable that they’ve done so?