Lindor Is Right: Let the Players Play

Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire

Francisco Lindor has taken on a role with the New York Mets and it’s all good. The Mets will eventually find a way to pay Lindor a long term and lucrative contract. Monday, during his Zoom media call, we found out more about Lindor.

The newest Met is outspoken.

That’s a good thing. We learned that Lindor was elected to the Major League Baseball Players Association’s executive subcommittee and it’s all about the significance of doing the right things for players.

On the first day of official workouts with his new team down in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Lindor said something that every baseball person heard. He is not a fan of analytics and asked that to let the players play.

“People played the game the right way and made decisions along the way that helped me get to here. They set the path for me already. Now it’s time for me to continue that path to help the younger players make the game better,” Lindor said.

But the owners are content with reducing minor league organizations and dependence on scouting has gone the way of analytics. Too many, including Lindor, are saying the new data is ruining the game.

This could be an issue when players and owners attempt to hash out a new collective bargaining agreement that expires this year. The consensus is analytics is one of the major issues that will be brought to the table because players and owners are usually not on the same page.

Lindor referred to playing baseball the right way. He knows baseball is not being played the way that he was taught. Once it was strategy and scouting reports that dictated play and now the game belongs to numbers.

No matter what Lindor believes, or for that matter, the many thousands of others, analytics is here to stay. It’s just good to hear that a player with the stature of Lindor is outspoken and now he has a forum in the New York market.

The player’s union is headed to a bitter labor war with owners. Many in their majority, including those who have talked with me over the past few years, are dead set against their game that is structured with numbers and Sabermetrics.

What surprised me was how Lindor, with a new team and looking for a long term deal, was so outspoken during his first spring training call with the New York media.

You got the impression that Lindor wanted to keep the subject to dealing with the acclimation to his new surroundings. The Mets huge offseason acquisition shores up their defense in the infield during the walk year of his contract, but Lindor was presented with an opportunity and he delivered.

You ask baseball personnel and they say, Lindor is perhaps the best shortstop in the game. They say he is a catalyst for the lineup and the Mets are anticipating that to be the case as they prepare for a fast start to the 2021 season.

But analytics, unfortunately, will dictate where and how Lindor will approach his at bats in the National League.

Unfortunately, I could not get a question to Lindor on the Zoom call. As baseball continues to adapt during the pandemic, myself and my colleagues do the same. Again, we have no access to one-one-one with the players and depend on a Zoom call to sneak in a question and hopefully get the answer.

Lindor is correct when he discussed how teams are relying on analytics. I am sure the removal of starting pitcher, Blake Snell, after a masterpiece in the ALCS, is an example. Pitch counts and analytics should not matter during a decisive game in the postseason, but analytics said otherwise despite all the questions to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash about his decision.

You wonder how manager Luis Rojas will position his new shortstop in the lineup. Lindor, for the most part is focused on helping his new team win. He will also hope to get that contract extension out of the way soon to avoid any type of distractions.

Those longtime baseball personnel, not to be considered relics, are all with Francisco Lindor.

One said to me Tuesday, “Analytics is not the leader. Numbers do have value with scouting and player development but the analytical gurus have gone overboard. They are making it difficult to identify the game and the way it should be played.”

Regardless, Francisco Lindor will be on the field and play the way he was taught. Analytics are here to stay but baseball needs to be played the right way. The players need to play.

They need to play the way Ted Williams became a .400 hitter. Unfortunate. Unless Lindor and others get to play baseball the right way, we will never see another Ted Williams.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso “Sports With Rich” YouTube. Subscribe, Like, Comment.

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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