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