INTENSE NERDERY THEREIN.
The New York Mets are silent as the gleaming silver Greyhound weaves its way through traffic. It had been a long flight home after a grueling West Coast trip. They will soon reach their destinations: an expansive compound in Westchester, a sleek high-rise in Long Island City, an empty bachelor pad on the Upper East Side. But for now, drained from long days in the sun and the hum of jetlag, they are quiet and contemplative as dusk turns the New York sky a brilliant mash of orange and blue. All of a sudden, a voice emerges.
LUCAS DUDA [singing]: HELLO DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND.
On April 18, the Mets traded Davis to Pittsburgh. “Now, we’re going to see what Duda is made of,” Terry Collins said a few days later, in quiet moment outside the clubhouse. The manager had talked up Duda for years, but I hadn’t been listening.
In fact, Duda tended to produce agreement between the analysts and the sun-soaked lifers; both sides saw potential for a dynamic bat. Scouts and skippers thought his swing was smoother than Davis’, while front office-types admired his approach and exit velocity.
The only experience that led one to disagree, it seemed, was reporting. Through doing my job, and getting to know both as human beings, I arrived at an opinion that now seems clearly wrong. Duda has 20 homers this year; Davis seven. Duda’s OPS is .866; Davis’ is .705. The Mets chose wisely.
On Monday morning, I asked Duda directly: Did writers, especially this one, overstate your issues with confidence?
“I do think the media kind of played that like I wasn’t confident, or I was nervous,” he said. “I think that playing breeds confidence. For a long time, I wasn’t playing up to what I expected of myself. Confidence is thrown around so much. I have always had confidence.”"
(I mean for fuck’s sake, God forbid a young player express honesty about feeling insecure once in a while OH NO HE’S A HUMAN) (like no less than Ralph Kiner spoke glowingly of Duda’s swing vs. Davis’, maybe pay more attention to what’s happening out on the field?) (have you compared their stats recently? Do you know that the Pirates are thinking of moving lefty-hitting power bat Alvarez to first base? What does that mean for Davis? Isn’t it great that sportswriters have no actual influence?) (at least he fesses up to being a bad journalist?) (can I have his job?) /RANT
Duda, sounding almost annoyed, played down or deflected each question. He tends to keep his answers brief, so brief that they are often followed by a stunned silence.
This dance went on for six questions, about 1 minute 40 seconds total. When the pause grew longer, Duda stared blankly into the distance, over the group, his arms still by his side, as if he had been unplugged.
After Duda was interviewed for this article, he harrumphed, hung his head, and echoed something he said when The Star-Ledger of Newark profiled him in 2012.
“Dude, I’m the most uninteresting person in the world.”"
Imagining a 70s sitcom opening credits of Duda harrumphing and then the title THAT’S OUR DUDA! spinning onto the screen.
(pretty good article; the exchange with Terry Collins is kind of heartbreaking)