#27 – Rick Reed: Not in the Video Games

Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #27, Rick Reed:

Approximate number of hours in my life spent creating certain players in baseball video games:

1,512 hours – Rick Reed
387 hours – Benny Agbayani
34 hours – Myself

I had Triple Play 2000 for the computer, and as a young Mets fan, I found it immensely frustrating that Rick Reed and Benny Agbayani were not in the game. The contrarian that I was (and probably still am), Rick Reed was my favorite Mets pitcher; Al Leiter was just too obvious a choice. Reed was the random old guy who became an All Star with the Mets. He wasn’t the ace, but I liked him more because of that.

As an aside, I sometimes wonder if being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian is a common trait among Mets fans. After all, there is a vastly more successful team playing in the same city . . . yet we all spend our time over here, wondering if Daniel Murphy can play second base and about how broke the owners are. It seems like one needs a little bit of that “this is my choice and I’m sticking to it no matter what” to have put up with all the nonsense that’s been going on with the Mets for the better part of 50 years. You need a bit of a stubborn streak, mixed with equal parts blind optimism.

Anyway, because the Reed and Agbayani crossed the picket lines and acted as replacement players during the 1994-1995 strike, they were not allowed in the MLB players association. And because the MLBPA licenses its members’ likenesses to video games, they weren’t in my video games. And because they weren’t in the videos games, I was compelled to create Reed and Agbayani in the name of roster accuracy.

So, obsessive and frustrated nerdling that I was, I spent countless hours of my life creating Reed, the Mets’ then-second best pitcher, and Agbayani, the Mets’ then-most rotund outfielder, in the game. And I created them over and over and over, for reasons that aren’t clear twelve years later. I guess I was bad at remembering to save.

But I also learned about the complexities of labor negotiations in the process, as well as the meaning of the word “scab.” And people say video games aren’t educational.

***

. . . he was ostracized by teammates in Cincinnati in 1995, and several officials in the Mets organization said he was probably not promoted to the majors in 1996 for fear of backlash in the clubhouse. For the first month of last season, he was convinced he would be returned to the minors . . . [Reed] will sit quietly in the Mets clubhouse in spring training and hope nobody notices him.

“I’ll just read the newspaper and mess around with a crossword puzzle,” Reed said. ”No whooping and hollering and being the center of attention. Just get my work done and get out of there, and hopefully somebody will let me play golf with them.”

New York Times, January 1998

This spring, Reed has played golf in a foursome that included the Mets’ player representative, John Franco, sat in on a players’ association meeting (Reed’s application for reinstatement by the union has yet to be acted upon) for the first time since 1994 and watched an early-round game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament while sitting next to [Todd] Hundley.

New York Times, two months later

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6 Comments

Filed under Mets, Words

6 responses to “#27 – Rick Reed: Not in the Video Games

  1. So that was the reason? I remember having the same exact frustration.

    I loved Rick Reed. It really stunk when they traded him in 2001 when they thought they were out of it.

    • Patrick Flood

      That was the reason. Players who aren’t MLBPA members aren’t in the video games — Barry Bonds opted out of the players association, and wasn’t in the games for the last few years of his career either.

      • I remember Barry Bonds was in Sammy Sosa’s HH 2001. (So was Reed and Agbayani, IIRC.) In fact, once I used HH2001 to try to estimate what PEDs may have done to Bonds, by going into the player editor and making him ten years younger, and simming out five seasons five times. I then simmed five seasons five times at his actual age.

        Conclusion – suddenly feeling ten years younger works wonders for your performance. Blinding flash of the obvious, right?

      • Patrick Flood

        I love this idea, by the way — trying to figure out the effects of steroids through video games. I vote for this as an official part of a suspected user’s Hall of Fame consideration.

  2. Ah yes i recall playing older versions of The show and seeing a few players using alias names…i specifically remember that barry bonds was “Regie Stocker” and that Dice-k had a weird one too. anyways, I don’t really have any rick reed moments to share but he was a solid pitcher, and you gotta show some love.

  3. I knew about Reed crossing the picket line, but I had no idea about Benny, or that there were other non-union MLB players (thank you to nightfly and Zacnym 13).

    Like dcmetsfan, I loved Rick Reed, and his being a line-crosser just bumped him up in my estimation. While I was in college (late 70s-mid 80s) we had a lot of labor unrest in our area (northern New York), and I always found myself rooting for management against labor. I still do. I’m currently thinking good thoughts about Andrew Cuomo in his struggles against NYSUT, the nurses’ and the government employees’ unions.

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