Us Met fans love to hold on to that magical 1986 team. Three of the five biggest crowds at Citi Field this season occurred during 1986 weekend. The only larger crowds were for the infamous Garden Gnome Day and the home opener. One of the fan favorite stories of that group was the Teufel Shuffle, Tim Teufel‘s batting stance hip gyrations that gained it’s own cult following in addition to a Shea Stadium video board montage. The personable, well-respected fifth year Mets third base coach had enough movement in his hips to make Jack Parkman jealous. Teuf’s hip movement is no longer garnering him attention, but the waving of his arms are becoming a cause for concern.
During the third inning of game one against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, Yoenis Cespedes laced a double into right-center field gap. Jose Reyes, the man acquired amidst controversy to inject speed into the Mets lineup was gliding his way from first base, cutting 2nd with precision and hitting his terminal velocity as his tongue hung out of the side of his mouth.
Before the throw was cut off from the outfield, Reyes eyed up his 3rd base coach Tim Teufel, expecting to be given the green light where he likely would have arrived safely. Surprisingly, Reyes was held up, coming to an abrupt stop past the third base bag before the relay man beyond the infield dirt even had the ball.
After a James Loney walk, Kelly Johnson would strike out, stranding Reyes at third who was unable to coax a balk out of the animated and emotional Cardinal’s starter Carlos Martinez. The Mets would score two in the next frame to pull within a run, but would go quietly the rest of the way, making Teufel’s decision loom large as the Mets fell 3-2.
It is sadly not the first time Teufel’s split second decisions have been called into question this season. He was daring enough to send the heavy-footed James Loney from second on a hard hit ball through the left side July 20th against the Cubs. He was nailed by 3 strides. In June, Teuf sent Wilmer Flores, another notoriously slow runner, from first base in the 9th inning of a one run loss. On April 15th in Cleveland, a game I was lucky enough to be able to be in attendance for, two Mets base-runners were thrown out at the plate trying to score in a one run win.
A good third base coach is one that is not noticed. It is a thankless job, much like a holder in football, that is only given negative attention when mistakes are made. Teufel has now continuously been noticed. This could lead to more pressure on him during his next game deciding decision. It is no secret that the offense has struggled. The club has nary a run to spare, and can not afford to be giving up outs either. Furthermore, if the base-runners are also thinking too much, and losing confidence in Teuf’s decisions, it can cause them to be hesitant or even worse, cause an injury if they are unexpectedly asked to stop on a dime.
When asked in between games Tuesday about the costly mishap by Teuf, which even his former teammate Ron Darling was critical of in the broadcast booth, Collins offered his ever eloquent testimony, “I’m not going to get into the coaching stuff…Its his call”. Well skip, it is your call if he can be trusted to do his job. Based so far on some costly mishaps, it may be a cause for concern. On its own, it may not be a critical issue. However, when it is combined with the Mets sterile offense, it may necessitate a change.
So, let us know in the comments Mets Fans. Sure its Teuf’s job, but is it time to let someone else do it?