The Razor's Edge Is Dull: A Third Base Coach's Story

Joe FiorelloCorrespondent IAugust 3, 2009

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Coach Razor Shines #52 of the New York Mets poses during photo day at Tradition Field on February 23, 2009 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

An out on base (OOB) is when a runner is put out while making a base running play.  Some examples include being thrown out trying to advance on a fly ball, out attempting to reach another base on a hit, doubled off on a line drive, out attempting to advance on a wild pitch or passed ball, and most importantly, being thrown out at home plate.

It does not include pickoffs and caught stealing.

The Mets have 45 OOBs so far this season, good for third in the Major Leagues.  This could be attributed to aggressive base running, but the Mets have only taken an extra base (XBT%—percentage of times the runner advanced more than one base on a single or more than two bases on a double when possible) 39 percent of the time.

The team that leads the league in OOBs, the Colorado Rockies, have an XBT% of 51 percent.  That seems a lot more like aggressive base running to me.

In my opinion, a lot of the Mets OOBs can be attributed to third base coach, Razor Shines.

I was at Saturday night’s game.  It was a  great victory for the Mets, with Angel Pagan hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning to break a tie game.  It was also a game where Shines’ bad decision making was on full display.

In the eighth inning, the batter before Pagan, a pinch hitting Angel Berroa, singled sharply to left field with runners on first and second.  Alex Cora, the runner on second was being waved home by Shines, on a ball that was definitely hit too hard for him to score.

Cora, with a heads up play, held up on his own after watching the left fielder Alex Romero fire the ball back into the infield just after he reached third base.  Knowing he would have been out by 70 feet, Cora took matters into his own hands and held up, setting the stage for the grand slam that changed the game.

This, unfortunately, was not Shines’s only misstep of the game.  With one out in the second inning and Corey Sullivan on first after drawing a walk, Alex Cora laced a double down the right field line to Justin Upton.

Sullivan got a great jump off the crack of the bat, and was rounding third as Upton fielded the ball and threw into the cut off man in short right field.  Shines, for some ungodly reason, held Sullivan when it seemed to everyone in the stand that he could have scored standing up.

I understand that there was one out, and you’re not supposed to take a chance making the second out at home plate, but it seemed to me at least that the play wouldn’t have even been close.  Combine that with the fact that the eight and nine hitters were up next, and sending the runner seems like a no-brainer.

I’ve been to a decent number of Mets games this season, and have seen at least three runners get thrown out at home in person.  All of those runners were out by a mile.

I hate to be a fan that is criticizing from the stands, but I wasn’t the only one screaming for Razor’s head in the stands on Saturday night, so I must not be the only one that’s noticed there’s a problem.

It’s one problem on a list of many that sum up the New York Mets 2009 season.

Let’s Go 2010.