Oh, KeithBy: Brendan Bilko
“I just had to sit down across from her, for around two minutes, and just stare at her.” Former MVP and ’86 World Series Champion first baseman Keith Hernandez is the wild card of the SNY booth triumvirate. However, this trait of unpredictability has been known to backfire on Hernandez from time to time. This quote in particular from Wednesday night’s broadcast will be neither the first nor the last to see backlash. I’m talking in particular about another quote of his from earlier in the week.
During Tuesday night’s broadcast, SNY flashed the answer to the AT&T Trivia question on the screen (four players to hit 100+ extra base hits in the 2001 season). Said answer juxtaposed the numbers of Todd Helton with Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Luis Gonzalez – supposed PED users from the steroid era. Hernandez, got up on a crate of Dial and scorned:
Ridiculous! Yeah well, let’s just forget about those days – [unrecognizable] joke! Disgrace to the game.
His comments essentially implied that Helton was guilty of the same crime as his graphic-mates; an implication completely unfair to Helton. His stats in 2001 were nowhere near as preposterous as that of the others that accomplished the feat of 100+ extra base hits that season.
To give an example of the plausibility of the statistics, let’s look at last season’s NL MVP. In 2009, Albert Pujols hit 47 home runs and 46 doubles at the age of 29. Helton’s 2001 line was put up in the pre-humidor Coors Field air at age 28 (Hernandez himself ironically says prime years for hitters are ages 27 -32). While the line unfortunately falls within a dark time in baseball, it certainly wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. Maybe Todd Helton is just a damn good ball player (.418 career wOBA and a UZR/150 of 3.6).
Maybe this is all out of context, but Keith’s remarks seemed pretty clear. Mistakes have been made about Helton in the past by our own Wayne Hagin and I’d hate to see this happening again. Though we love Keith for who he is, sometimes he occasionally toes that line a bit too far.