During the season in 2018, New York Mets first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr approached a struggling Jay Bruce about his play.
‘Hey, you’re not moving well in the outfield’ Amaro said
‘No shit’ Bruce replied. ‘Do you not read the injury report? I’m hurt.’
“(The conversation) left a bitter taste in my mouth”. Bruce told the New York Post here.
News flash, Jay Bruce: your .680 OPS left an even bitter taste in the mouths of Mets fans everywhere.
Jay Bruce, in the 2018 Major League Baseball season, showed everyone exactly what is wrong with the ‘old school’ approach that is a dying relic in baseball today. He was stubborn, unprofessional and bad at baseball.
Using Wins Above Replacement, an average starter has a WAR around 2. If you’re above 4, you start to get into All Star territory. Below 2, and your production could typically be replaced by a minor league player that makes the league minimum.
Jay Bruce, in 2018, posted a bWAR of -0.4. Yes. Jay Bruce contributed more towards Mets loses than he did towards Mets wins.
“I have planter fasciitis and my hip is bothering me”
Then go on the disabled list!!
With a slash line of .223/.310/.370, you start to lose the ability to get upset when a coach questions your play.
Jay Bruce is ‘old school’ though. He was taught to play 160 games no matter what. Even if it means costing your team wins. -0.4 bWAR.
It is this old school approach that cost the Mets wins. Ask people around baseball-from fans to players. I am sure they would say that a healthy Jay Bruce would have helped the Mets in 2018.
This shows just how selfish and unprofessional Bruce really was. It wasn’t about helping the Mets win more games for Bruce. It was about how ‘old school’ he is, and how he never misses games. Why doesn’t he miss games? Because he’s ‘old school’. I hear a lot about ‘him’ and not a lot about what is best for the team.
If Jay Bruce was a true professional and true team player, he would have done whatever it takes to help the Mets win games. Even if it means he goes on the disable list.
That would have been the first step of a true professional and team player. It is also the first step where his ‘old school’ approach showed how selfish Bruce really was.
Further proof of how Bruce’s ‘old school’ mentality masks selfish behavior came midway through the season. In a sit down interview with SNY roving reporter Steve Gelbs, Bruce declared he never reads the advanced pitching reports prior to games. He relies on his ‘old school’ approach, and his knowledge of the pitchers in the league.
A true team player and a true pro does whatever it takes to help a team win games. Spending 30 minutes before a game reading an advance pitching report is the least amount of effort a true professional ballplayer could do. Obviously Bruce’s old school approach did not work out well. In today’s game, teams shuttle pitchers up and down between the majors and minors. If you only face a team six times a season, you might only get five at bats a season off a pitcher. Is that’s enough information to prepare? What is they have a new pitcher on the staff, that you have never faced before?
I think of it this way. Remember back in school, and you had an exam coming up. You choose to just study your own notes that you took yourself. You don’t bother reading the text book or anything else. Just the notes you have.
When you get that “C” on the exam, you wonder why. You might have studied your notes throughly. But did you really do everything possible to prepare yourself?
In 2018, Jay Bruce was stubborn and unprofessional. He was bad at baseball. Yes, he was hurt, but it was his refusal to go on the DL that only extended the problem. It is a prime example of how doing things ‘old school’ cost his team. Hopefully Bruce has learned his lesson, and become more of a team player going forward.