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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Drawn and Quattlebaumed

Rainouts are no good unless they save you from an emergency “bullpen game” being thrown together because Jacob deGrom has a tight ride side. Jacob deGrom having a tight right side is no good at all, but if it’s not tight enough to send him to the injured list, then it could be worse. The Mets having new hitting coaches? It is what it is.

Nobody ever says “it is what it is” about anything good. Even still.

Farewell, Chili Davis and Tom Slater. You never type or think of the name of the hitting coach unless something is going terribly wrong. The assistant hitting coach doesn’t come up at all except when he’s coming or going, and then you type him only if you’re feeling diligent.

I don’t know what I’m feeling after 36 or so hours inside the Hugh Quattlebaum era. Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard are the new hitting and assistant hitting coaches, respectively. You’re not going to hear much about Kevin Howard even if things are going woefully because “Hugh Quattlebaum” takes up all the oxygen from a fun-to-say, fun-to-type standpoint. Hugh Quattlebaum is simply irresistible, and I apologize for not resisting. I often think back to a journalism class in college in which our teacher discouraged us from having too much pun fun with people’s names in headlines. They’ve been hearing it all their lives, he said, and he was right.

But we’ve had so little fun as Mets fans these last 36 hours.

No game Tuesday night.

No regulation nine-inning game Wednesday night (two Manfred-mandated partial affairs in St. Louis instead).

No deGrom.

No winning streak in progress.

No more Diesel Donnie Stevenson, probably, which is OK, because the further we get from the initial invocation of the fictional approach coach, Donnie seems less a whimsical clubhouse creation and more a desperate cry for organizational attention.

Nothing except splendid shortstop play and a deeply reassuring track record out of Francisco Lindor, the .163 wonder, as in “I wonder when Francisco Lindor will start hitting the ball.”

So does Hugh Quattlebaum. So does Chili Davis. Ditto for their assistants. Donnie the Six-Foot-Tall Rabbit, too. Everybody wants to know. Everybody might still have the assignments with which they entered the week had Lindor been hitting adequately rather than not at all.

This, too, shall pass, I’m certain of it. Fairly certain. Basically confident. Seriously, he’s not gonna be this way for the next 1,759 games of his contract, is he?

Also to pass: the residue of the Quattlebaum kerfuffle, wherein hitting coaches were replaced just as a bunch of the players they coached were swinging productively again — and nobody bothered telling the players before the front office told the world. Clumsily handled or otherwise, the midseason exchange of hitting coaches is a time-honored tradition for teams temporarily dipped beneath .500 featuring superstars wallowing a nautical mile below .200. Somebody’s gotta go, but offing the manager is too much of a bother. Pitching coaches occasionally get the axe, but hitting coaches are more obvious targets. Pitching can be subjective. Hitting is obvious. Not hitting is blatantly obvious.

Chili Davis used to be a fun name to say if not as much fun as Hugh Quattlebaum. Chili was hitting coach when the Mets hit loudly in 2019 and for three days this past Saturday to Monday. He was also hitting coach for the first few weeks of 2021 when the bats were so quiet Elmer Fudd could go wabbit-hunting. Chili did his best to communicate with his star pupils via video conferencing in 2020. His star pupils swore by him. After he was let go on Monday night, his starriest pupil, Pete Alonso, mourned his dismissal. Probably other Mets did, too.

Pete and the pupils will see their way clear to perseverance. Coaches come. Coaches go. Players stay until they come or go but rarely because of the movement of coaches. The Mets will implement through Hugh Quattlebaum (and Kevin Howard) whatever their precious prevailing philosophies are. That’s a big thing now. We praise teams for being analytically inclined. Get the players the information and help them put it to optimal use. Unless someone sees the ball and hits the ball, in which case we revel in good old-fashioned horsehide sense.

Fabulous results, however obtained, will make everybody happier. And whatever his skills as an instructor and disseminator, bandying about the name “Hugh Quattlebaum” couldn’t hurt the mood for a few days.

12 comments to Drawn and Quattlebaumed

  • Seth

    It feels oddly appropriate for a team with no real hitters, to have a fake hitting coach. You can’t make this stuff up…

  • eric1973

    I loved the Donnie thing. It seemed like a moodbreaker that lightened the bad karma on the team, and maybe actually did help for a couple of days.

    I think this Zack character with the slide-rule in his pocket had it in for Chili all along, he had already fired him in Boston, and if he waited for the team to turn it around, he could not then fire him. Now if the team turns it around, he can act like it was all his doing and can then get that ‘Interim’ tag removed. Selfish.

    In his Zoom call a couple of days ago, he seemed like a meek backroom guy who does not have the feel of the game. He and Rojas should get along fabulously.

  • Seth

    Maybe that’s what the team needs — a good quattle prod.

  • Quattlebaum is the best Mets name since Brodie Van Wa… uh oh. If only they could invent a pretext for hiring Bean Stringfellow.

  • .340 in ‘69

    If Lindor miraculously gets hold of one and clears the fence tonight or tomorrow, it will certainly be anointed a “Quattle Bomb”. See? Your Journalism professor was correct!

  • So Quattlebaum replaces Donnie Stevenson. Wait! Didn’t Quisenberry once walk Quasimodo on a sidearm high fastball?

  • Daniel Hall

    Hitting coach here, hitting coach there – I’m busy sacrificing the neighbors’ cats to please the baseball gods into making Jake’s lat (what is that even? sounds like a fake body part) alright again. (throws another three cats onto the angrily burning pyre)

    Hugh Quattlebaum *is* a great name, though. I like great names. I usually sign the players with the best names rather than the best stats when gaming sports management games, baseball and otherwise. Once in a long stretch of losing seasons – because the team was forsaken anyway – I already had a second baseman named Yoshi. I signed a shortstop named Yoshi for the sole merit of having a Double Yoshi Middle Infield. The team also finished in last place, so what the **** do I know about anything?

    Yeah, I suck at games. Not as much as the A’s Jesus Luzardo, though.

  • mikeL

    wow just no joy in metville this long first moth of the season.
    not even the tease of a quick start out of the gate.
    well, i guess chili and tom can be thankful they didn’t have to fly back without the team fro. the west coast…

    less-go mets :-/

  • Dave

    There’s probably a character in Mary Poppins or some other movie that takes place in London back in the day who is identified in the credits as “bank manager” or “gentleman in umbrella shop.” He’s wearing a bowler hat, a tweed sports coat, and a monocle. If that character was promoted enough to have a line or two of dialogue, his name would be Hugh Quattlebaum. If we got to know him better, we’d learn that his wife’s name is Hortense.

  • open the gates

    So now Omar Quintanilla has company on the Q cue…

    I remember when Kevin Long was the Mets hitting coach, we used to talk about the Mets hitting the Long ball – now, maybe we’ll talk about the Mets hitting… the Q ball…

    OK, I’ll shut up now.

  • open the gates

    …OK, one more thing.

    During the election, back when there were a bunch of Democratic candidates, there was a guy running named Hickenlooper. And I remember thinking, “I almost don’t care about his politics – it would just be cool to have a President Hickenlooper.” I feel kind of the same about this guy. Of course, it would be nice if he could get the Mets hitting again…

  • Paul

    Years ago, the late, great Steve Allen used to speak with some members of the studio audience during his daily television show. One day, Mr. Allen asked an attractive young girl what her name was. The young woman replied, “My name is Dorothy Flugelheimer.” To which the quick-witted Mr. Allen shot back with, “Didn’t your father have enough sense to get THAT last name changed?”

    I suspect that Mr. Allen would have posed the exact same question to new Mets batting instructor, Hugh Quattlebaum.

    PS At least, Sandy Alderson did not hire former Chicago Cub player Pete LaCock as the team’s new batting instuctor. I always wondered just how the late, great Ralph Kiner would enunciate, in his own inimitable style, the surname of game show host Peter Marshall’s son whenever he came to bat at Shea Stadium?