Friday, September 2, 2022

Buck On Gore's Speed & Who It Reminds Him Of

The Mets banners now on the roof at Citi Field. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets called up veteran stolen base extraordinaire Terrance Gore on Wednesday, and he made his debut in Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, as he stole a base in the eighth inning after he pinch-ran for Daniel Vogelbach.

Gore has played for the Kansas City Royals (2014-17 & '19), the Chicago White Sox in 2018, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. He has 40 career stolen bases in 120 career games, and has been on two championship teams, with the '15 Royals and '20 Dodgers.

Mets Manager Buck Showalter was asked how valuable Gore could be to his team. "We'll see; last night, I really wanted to get him out there. Last night, somebody asked me when you pick when you use him, you know, would you rather save him for potential extra innings, or maybe you could expand the lead and not have extra innings, but use him some other time.

"He's a weapon, I've seen it firsthand on the other side of the diamond, 2014, but it's, anytime you think you can gain 90 feet, and he's good at it. It's like, I ask our guy in Triple-A, this guy, everything he does is about being ready for that opportunity. You think about it, if you take care of it, this tool, you can do real well. He's been doing this for quite a while, but it's obvious he takes a lot of pride in it and he knows what he's gotta do to maintain that foot speed. 

"Watching him today walk around, he's preparing for that one burst, maybe two bursts. Pretty cool, I'd like to have that at your disposal, but it is challenging to decide where to use it."

On if he ever managed a player with the same stolen-base skill set, Schowalter said, "We've all had someone, Travis Jankowski had a chance to steal a base, but it wasn't a given, and we never take for granted what Terrance might be able to do.

"If I had to think about it, probably the closest was Deion Sanders. Deion was a guy that just outran the baseball, first time I saw him, that was a different level foot speed I had ever seen. He would take off after the ball was halfway to the plate, just outrun it the last, you know, half-a-second. 

"His acceleration, I've never seen anybody run like that in my life. Believe me, Deion was a whole different level of foot speed. Watching him run out a triple is worth going to the ballpark, it was fun. That's one of the highlights of my career was coaching third base (with the Yankees) on an inside-the-park home run with him (on July 17, 1990). He can run!

"They used to get out in instructional league, he would cover routes and show them how he would bait quarterbacks into throwing. He would make it like he was open, and his closing speed was breathtaking, just a whole different level of foot speed. 

"Was it (Bill) Parcells, or somebody, that used to talk about how Deion was the biggest weapon for years because he could negate, he could play your best wide receiver one-on-one, and nobody in the NFL, like Jerry Rice, he could play him one-on-one, and everybody else had to tilt the field towards Jerry Rice, which opened up other things, but when Deion could take your best receiver and take him out of play, what an advantage that was for an NFL team. He said he was the only guy who could do it...Got into football, doesn't football season start tomorrow? I tell ya, it's starting tomorrow. Your part of the country, it's not starting - trust me, it's starting tomorrow," referring to college football...

"He was a beauty, he was different at baseball, completely different, great teammate, I tell you in Double-A that year, they would have elected him captain if we voted. They loved him, very humble, good man, I had a great experience with Deion."

Gore was one of just two players the Mets called up, along with infielder Deven Marrero, as rosters expanded on Thursday, September 1. Unlike when the roster used to expand to 40 players, they now just go up to 28. 

Showalter said of which he prefers, "I like something in between. I didn't like the 37, 38, 39; I didn't think that was competitively right. It actually hurt the better teams, and it raised the teams that shouldn't have be as competitive as they were then allowed to be. Really tough on scouting, how to prepare for 38 players, but 28, you know, that's the first time I've been with it. I'd rather be at about 30, have a couple more options, but then, you're back to kind of know, sometimes, I wish they'd just stay at 26; that's what we played with all year.

"I think they're talking about some health; interesting to see how many people were just brought up at catcher. You know, I was talking yesterday on the conference call, heck, me personally, they talk about 13 pitchers, 14 pitchers, I'd like to see them go back to 12, If you couldn't have more than 12, then you'd really see, you know, a general manager, a pitching coach, a manager, your ability to manage that staff, really getting some people separated that knew what they were doing or not doing. I miss those days with a 12 and 11-man pitching staff."

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