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Fired Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens has some words for Keith Hernandez

May 27, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

Dave Hudgens AP

The Mets fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens yesterday. And, after he was let go, he was a pro with the media, sitting for extended interviews and talking openly and honestly about things. He said nice things about Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins too.

He did not, however, have nice things to say about Keith Hernandez and the SNY broadcast team, which had been on his case before he was let go. Marc Carig of Newsday reports that Hudgens is no fan of Hernandez’s repeated on-air comments about how Mets hitters need to be more aggressive as opposed to following Hudgens’ advice about waiting for the right pitch to hit:

“The naysayers, the guys who disapprove of us, the guys who I listen to on TV all the time, those guys that know everything about the game, I’m just amazed at it,” Hudgens said. “What’s wrong with getting a good pitch to hit? Somebody, please punch a hole in that for me. I just shake my head at the old-school guys that have it all figured out. Go up there and swing the bat. Well, what do you want to swing at? It just confounds me. It’s just hilarious, really.

“That’s one thing. I’m glad I don’t have to listen to those guys anymore.”

Philosophies differ, obviously, and Hudgens has every right to defend his approach and dismiss that of outsiders.  That said: why is a major league hitting coach listening to the broadcasters in the first place? Let alone, why does he “have to?”

 

  1. itsacurse - May 27, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Only one of those guys his .296 over 17 years and won an MVP so….

    • paperlions - May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      He also had a 12.5% BB rate during his career, which is among the top 10% during that time frame. He obviously didn’t just go up there hacking either. The approach of the Met’s hitters is more similar to that used by Hernandez than the approach that Hernandez is espousing.

      • itsacurse - May 27, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    • cohnjusack - May 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Only one of those guys his .296 over 17 years and won an MVP so….

      That he won by not being an aggressive hitter. The guy walked 80-100 times a year, ranking in the top 10 in walks 7 times.

      • itsacurse - May 27, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        yeah you’re right, Keith Hernandez doesn’t know anything about hitting, he was basically a preprogrammed pitch-taking automoton, hope the Dave Hudgens fan club serves you well

  2. itsacurse - May 27, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Only one of those guys hit .296 over 17 years and won an MVP so….

    • itsacurse - May 27, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      ah the dreaded double comment. time to commit seppuku

      • Old Gator - May 27, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Okay, you’ll need some seconds. I will summon the Lone Ranger and Tanto….

    • notsofast10 - May 27, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      You can say that again!

    • tmarlin122 - May 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      The same guy that disgraced the league by being a snow blower when his team had a chance to win more than 1 WS…which was won on a fluke play while he was getting drunk in the clubhouse by the way ??

      • itsacurse - May 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        looks like we know dave hudgens’ user name now

  3. mantastic54 - May 27, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    The only time I’ve heard Hernandez complain about their approach was the numerous times that mets hitters watched a fastball down the middle go right by them. He was right, they need to be more aggressive

  4. droman79 - May 27, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    We’re talking about Keith Hernandez here, a guy who has forgotten more about hitting than this character… What a joke.

    I used to be a die-hard Met fan, these past couple of years has made my fandom die, hard. I’m not even angry, it’s worse, I’m just apathetic. I have found other things to care about.

    • sdelmonte - May 27, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      I’m still a die-hard, but it’s been really hard to make myself follow the team right now. They are bad in the way that makes you bored.

      • Old Gator - May 27, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        Tell me all about that. It looks like the Feesh may finally be turning a corner (before the next Scrooge McLoria fire sale) but, like they say, been there, done that. Buy you a beer as a prelude to extended commiseration.

      • sdelmonte - May 27, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        And right now, Fernandez = Harvey. Here’s hoping that next year, we can at least look forward to seeing those two.

  5. theotherfamousamos - May 27, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Can I just ask a really stupid question here? Why is Hudgens listening to the Keith Hernadez during the game? Do coaches really listen to the actual broadcast? Or is it just that other media types ask Hudgens et al about what the broadcast team said?

    • American of African Descent - May 27, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Well that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it. Perhaps if Hudgens had spent more time teaching hitting (or learning how to teach hitting), and less time worrying about the media, he would still have a job today?

      Just sayin’ . . .

      • Old Gator - May 27, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        @theother: you don’t need to ask permission to ask a stupid question here. That being said, when you ask permission to ask a stupid question, then go ahead and ask a stupid question. Don’t ask permission to ask a stupid question and then go asking a perfectly legitimate one.

  6. genericcommenter - May 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    What I find interesting is that Keith Hernandez was a big on-base guy who walked more than he struck out.

  7. xdj511 - May 27, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    I doubt Hudgens sat there and watched the live telecast, but don’t forget that nowadays everybody watches game tape for hours on end. I’m sure he caught snippets of Keith’s endless ramblings. Yeah the guy was a great hitter, but great hitters rarely make great hitting coaches.

  8. plmathfoto - May 27, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    The Mets can’t hit with runners on, time after time they don’t drive in a guy from third with less than two outs, are horrible with the bases loaded, and have hit into an enormous amount of doubleplays especially in the last week. If this guy thought he was doing a good job, well there’s obvious areas of improvement needed. I know he’s saddled with no catcher or shortstop, but that’s not the problem. Even the pitchers haven’t hit at all, they set a record for futility, the only one who’s hit was brought up recently (DeGrom) and was a shortstop in college.

  9. arwiv - May 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Anyone who questions Keith on hitting is automatically a clown in my book. If you are old enough to have seen Keith’s career, you know exactly what i’m talking about.

    • Old Gator - May 27, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      I can’t wait till the Wilpoons order the discharge of their infield coach. If their former coaches feel free to criticize Keith about hitting philosophy, I can’t wait to see what they would have to say concerning his notions about playing first base.

  10. bringbackkosar - May 27, 2014 at 10:09 AM

  11. draushaus - May 27, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Too much hating on Hudgens. Sure Hernandez was a great hitter. But that doesn’t translate into a great teacher. Otherwise, why haven’t the Mets hired him for the role? Or any of the other 29 clubs?

    • cohnjusack - May 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      But that doesn’t translate into a great teacher.

      Sure it does. That’s why Ted Williams is just as famous for being a manager as he was a hitter.

  12. mtr75 - May 27, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Hudgens can say what he wants, but Keith Hernandez not only has a .296 career average but he also has over 1,000 career walks. So he obviously knows a thing or two about getting a pitch to hit. The confounding thing about the Kets is that when they get a pitch to hit – be it 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-0 – they take it. When they have a 98% chance of getting fastball they’re swinging 2% of the time. I guess I can understand taking 3-0, but I don’t remember the last time I saw a Met hitter be aggressive on a 2-0 count. Keith’s right, swing the damn bats.

  13. mtr75 - May 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    @draushaus: you obviously don’t know of Keith’s interest in hard work at this point in his life. I can’t believe they manage to get him out of Sag Harbor for a few ball games a year.

  14. jbq2 - May 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Keith is still missed in St. Louis. He had his coke use and run-ins with Whitey Herzog. He had an ex wife chasing him to the courthouse. He went to NY and seems to have righted a listing ship. Did he play well in St. Louis or what? He had the George Brett left handed hitting style down pat. He made first base into an art. All good things must come to an end.

  15. stackers1 - May 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Whoever is right or wrong, I can’t stand Keith Hernandez.

  16. conjecture101 - May 27, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    I don’t know why the reporter singled out Hernandez because Hudgens certainly didn’t in his comments. I think anybody who knows baseball respects Keith Hernandez as a player. The problem I have is with the other two guys in the SNY booth; Ron Darling and Gary Cohen. Ron Darling acts like he was a hitter and Cohen acts like he didn’t get cut from his tee ball team. The sense of entitlement from those two is pretty hilarious but also very annoying. I prefer Hernandez over them as an announcer and feel that he makes the games watchable.

  17. hoopmatch - May 27, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    I watch a lot of different MLB broadcasts, so I’ve heard most of the announcers. And the Mets team is among the most entertaining. Way too many of those guys play it safe with their comments all the time. I don’t feel as though I’m getting an honest opinion.

    That said, wouldn’t it be cool if there was an announcing tandem who pretended to dislike each other and occasionally had an argument on the air? I’d love to hear that.

  18. cantphaseme - May 27, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    I agree with Keith. I’ve seen David Wright strike out looking more times this year then any of the past few years. You have some hitters that are good at waiting for the right pitch such as, Murph but this team really needs to attack the zone. A majority of the time, getting the bat on the ball has a higher chance of being successful then striking out looking does.

    On a second note, it has become harder and harder to listen to Keith on the broadcast. Its not so much his baseball comments but something about him just irks me. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is, but sometimes I find myself just saying, “STFU about it already.” It’s like he focuses on something and talks about it for 25 minutes.

    • ten2453 - May 27, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      Thank you, cantphaseme, for verbalizing what I’ve thought for years. Hernandez is an awful announcer. For every astute baseball observation he makes, we have to hear 4 or 5 inane references to old movies, ball park food, the way his father taught him, etc. When he can stay awake, we have to listen to him whine about having to announce extra innings and the traffic home. He’s an embarrassment, our Phil Rizzuto. The worst thing is that over the last couple of years, he’s starting to drag Ron and Gary down into the same shallowness.

  19. dfj79 - May 27, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    The thing is, “be patient” and “be aggressive” aren’t even mutually exclusive. “Be patient” doesn’t necessarily mean watch a first-pitch meatball go by, just as “be aggressive” doesn’t necessarily mean chase garbage out of the zone. A hitter can be both patient and aggressive by being willing to wait for a good pitch, but also being willing to swing at the first pitch if that’s when the good pitch happens to come.

  20. dsoffer - May 27, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    The anger shouldn’t be at Keith, it should be at the GM and the owners for the dimensions of Citi. Look up and down the lineup, how many hitters do you really want out of that bunch. The one hitter who is supremely talented, has been beaten mentally by the dimensions of this field. speaking of, why would you ever bring in Granderson when you know he is a all or nothing hitter, awful combination for this park. The Mets are either going to have to really rethink how deep RF is or they need to sign speed players who hit at a solid rate and can turn doubles into triples. Power hitters for the most part won’t be coming and honestly, mets shouldn’t be that interested as the numbers will fall and strikeouts will remain high….

    End of the day, there is a ton of blame to go around, but the mets should strongly reconsider how they are building their team with the field they have….hard to blame the coaches for crappy talent year in and year out.

  21. jets82jets - May 27, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I’ve been a Mets fan my entire life and foolishly I still watch every agonizing game. The only thing that makes the punishment of watching the Mets palatable is, Keith, Ron and Gary. They are among the best baseball broadcast teams, if not the best broadcast team in baseball. Dave Hudgens has overseen one of the most offensively starved teams in baseball for some time now. Keith Hernandez on the other hand provides intelligent and insightful commentary that I have always found to be on point and very informative. Honestly Dave Hudgens needs to shut up, apparently he does not understand how incredibly frustrating it is to watch Wright, Granderson, Duda, and basically everyone except Murphy strike out looking with the bases loaded because they are “looking for their pitch to hit.”

    With that said Collins’ management of the bullpen raises serious questions about whether or not he should remain in command. Leaving a pitcher in when they give up two walks and two hits in an inning is mind boggling, see the most recent Marlins series where Daisuke loaded the basis with one out in the eighth after Neise pitched a gem. Alderson also needs to go, as if Bay and Johan’s contracts weren’t bad enough, Granderson is not the answer, the guy was always a low average hitter even when he played for the Yankees, so signing a strike out low average hitter who was able to hit 40 home runs at Yankee stadium is just moronic.

  22. stew48 - May 27, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    I’m neither yea or nay on this guy. But, I do know for sure that a big success at hitting in the majors does not necessarily make you a hitting (batting) coach. The greatest coach I have known personally was a high school wrestling coach of national fame. You know what? He never wrestled in his life, but he sure could teach and coach. (both). Same with baseball; just ask Stubbs.

  23. 6stn - May 27, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Wow. After seeing the picture, I thought: “The Mets fired Walter Matthau!”

  24. mrznyc - May 28, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    It’s all a creation of Fred and Jeff

  25. stanbeyerman - May 28, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    There’s a great big, wide, wonderful world out here west of NYC that doesn’t give a flying rat’s cu.nt about these wussies’ infighting. I only came here thinking I might learn something. Disappointment again w/ NBC’s idea of sports stories.

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