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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

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It Ain't Called the Gold Arm Award

I have two questions regarding the Gold Glove awards:

1) How is it that Keith Hernandez won so many of them (11) yet refers to them on broadcasts as “Golden Gloves”? They're Gold Gloves, not Golden Gloves. Golden Gloves is boxing. But Keith is Keith.

I guess I just answered that question.

2) How did David Wright win a Gold Glove as the best defensive third baseman in the National League in 2007?

Damned if I know.

I'm all for Mets winning awards, starting with the Commissioner's Trophy and working down from there. Short of the big prize, I'll take all the middling trinkets available. Better in Met hands than other hands. Putting a Gold Glove in David Wright's hands is a far safer bet than giving Marv Throneberry a piece of birthday cake (“we wuz gonna give you one,” Casey Stengel is alleged to have told his buttercream-fingered first baseman, “but we wuz afraid you'd drop it”), but it's not the first thing you'd think to do.

Carlos Beltran won a Gold Glove, too. Of course he did. He's a terrific centerfielder. His instincts are nearly flawless, his execution remarkable, his grace amazing, his catches often spectacular. I could watch Carlos Beltran track fly balls all day.

David Wright brings to mind none of those qualities at third base. He tries hard and that occasionally translates to the Web Gem reel. His barehanded grab at Petco Park in 2005 was an instant classic. He made the reflex stab of the year in 2006 when he turned a potential ninth-inning game-ruiner in Philadelphia into a 5-4-3 double play. He made some big-time dives this past season as well and no, he didn't throw the ball away every time he got his hands on it. He's not bad. He's no butcher. He's pretty good, actually.

But a Gold Glove? For 2007? When bracing and cringing were automatic when it came to watching him fire to first? When his throws sailed? When too many balls to his left found holes when David didn't or couldn't react? When he made some of the plays but not nearly all of them?

Are they sure these weren't the Silver Sluggers in the wrong envelope?

Scott Rolen was injured much of the year and Robin Ventura — my and six times Rawlings' ideal of a Gold Glove third baseman — is retired, so maybe David was as good as it got in the N.L. I've looked at the fielding stats for hot cornermen but I never know what to make of them. Fielding percentage, which David didn't come close to leading, can be misleading. Should he be penalized for 21 errors, only two fewer than lazy lunkhead Miguel Cabrera, or rewarded for encountering 452 chances, second only to his highly regarded buddy Ryan Zimmerman? I've looked into zone ratings and range factors but they, too, are inconclusive.

Am I, as usual, being way too hard on a player I watch every day? Maybe, but I watched Ventura just as closely in '99 and never doubted he should win his Glove. He was simply awesome at every facet of his position. I occasionally read and hear references to what a wonderful defensive third baseman David Wright is. I don't see it. I just don't. And believe me, I do pay attention.

If it's just a popularity contest, well, fine. David deserves to be popular. He's the one Met who's been making the rounds in the wake of total team disaster. He carried himself with grace on The Daily Show and The Big Idea when the question of The Worst Collapse Ever comes up. He looks like he wants to kill himself (and probably several teammates), but he answers the Jon Stewarts and Donny Deutsches like a pro with a heart. While most of his teammates have scurried back to wherever collapsed Mets go once they've blown their lead, David's promoting his foundation so he can help others. Gosh, he remembered to thank Sandy Alomar, Sr. for hitting him so many ground balls and thus improving his defense.

I feel like such a Grinch with this kid. I should be waving banners for him but all I can do is think of the Gold Gove Mets of the past and how every single one of them back to Agee and Harrelson and Flynn and Mex and Darling through the Ordoñez/Ventura epoch of excellence right up to Carlos B. really and truly rated this honor. And that David Wright's a fine young man with an explosive bat and a winning smile.

16 comments to It Ain't Called the Gold Arm Award

  • Anonymous

    Think of it this way, compadre:
    How many of these damn things has the SS — the Dark Prince — across town won?
    At least 1 too many, IMHO.
    Same shit, different teaam…

  • Anonymous

    Ya gotta wonder whether this indicates still more hardware will be misdelivered to Mr. Wright.
    Like the GG, an MVP for Wright wouldn't be a massive tragedy — you can certainly make a strong case that he deserves it, and I wouldn't complain — but there are probably more deserving souls out there.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps, to quote Dave Matthews, with respect to third basemen in the National League this year, David was “The Best of What's Around.”

  • Anonymous

    Gold Gloves are almost completely subjective and akin to the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award which serves as the traditional booby prize for a deserving MVP candidate who simply isn't going to win the MVP Award for whatever reason.
    You are obviously entitled to your mystifyingly tepid enthusiasm for David Wright. And I have great respect for the fact that you've always been so forthright in expressing it. What I can't fathom is your persistent belief that Rey Ordonez was an actual Major League caliber baseball player, let alone anything special defensively.
    Never mind all-time Mets, Rey Ordonez doesn't belong in the top 100 list of players named Ordonez.
    Quibble over Wright's worthiness all day long; Zimmerman may well have been more deserving. But spare me the “Ordonez epoch of excellence” stuff.

  • Anonymous

    I laughed out loud when I saw Wright had won the Gold Glove. It's basically a popularity contest. And Tulo got totally robbed.
    But you know what? We deserve to have a couple of travesties go our way.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah. I mean, he's not a bad fielder, in fact I think he's pretty damn good with the Glove hand.
    Who knows, maybe 20 years from now we'll be looking at his career and multitude of Gold Gloves and forget that the first one was probably a little undeserved.

  • Anonymous

    No, no, no, no.
    You're way off on this one. Wright ranks extremely high in most of the defensive metrics. The geeks' hands-down choice for Gold Glove is Pedro Feliz, but after that it's between Wright and Zimmerman. Wright shows superlative range, besting by far all other 3B in “out of zone” (OOZ) plays, which is even more remarkable when you consider that the Mets have a fly ball pitching staff.
    He's certainly deserving. This is no Captain Intangibles Popularity Glove.

  • Anonymous

    why would you laugh out loud?
    and everyone's forgetting aramis ramirez.
    how did derrek lee beat pujols for 1st base though…?

  • Anonymous

    I'm sending Cookie Rojas to your house with the “Rey-O!” highlight tape.

  • Anonymous

    Right instinct, different infielder, I'm guessing. The Gold Glove shortstop probably tips off who the MVP is this year. And if Jimmy Rollins wanted to be presented his trophy at Shea, who would blame him?

  • Anonymous

    The way he fielded Jon Stewart's questions on the Daily Show, maybe he did deserve the Gold Glove. I feel like D-Wright's definitely more heart than polish defensively, and gold needs polish, but hey, who are we to complain too much?
    A-Rod can stay away from my team; David Wright's touching all the right bases.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that David's winning of the Gold Glove caught all of us by surprise is probably the best indicator of his defensive limitations. But maybe we concentrated so much on the throwing arm that we overlooked the fact that he can stab at virtually everything hit his way, can keep balls from going into the outfield and is not subject to “lazy” errors.
    It would be interesting to see how many other gold glove winners were also not blessed with golden throwing arms.

  • Anonymous

    Doesn't this Gold Glove make it less likely that Wright will be moved from 3rd base in '08? Which makes it less likely that Mets go for A-Rod ?
    By the way Greg, just ordered the '54 WS highlights on DVD from raresportsfilms.com.

  • Anonymous

    I was at Petco that night, and sitting down the 3rd base line with an amazing view of that catch.
    By far the greatest play I've ever seen live, and it's got to rank up there with the best defensive plays in Mets history…..Agee, Swoboda, Endy, Wright….take your pick.

  • Anonymous

    Are they sure these weren't the Silver Sluggers in the wrong envelope?
    Guess not, dude.

  • Anonymous

    Though I guess they could have used one big envelope to save on printing.
    Congrats to the same duo on their Sluggers. No headscratching here.