2020’s most overrated and over-hated figures in MLB
Didi Gregorius as DJ LeMahieu fallback creates tantalizing Yankees scenario
How Cleon Jones is fighting to save a 'dying community'
Mets must make fans' wildest free-agent dreams come true
Mets' new GM Jared Porter has some Sandy Alderson in him
Mets signing J.T. Realmuto still possible if James McCann gets away
We have nearly finished our hellish journey through the epically craptastic year that has been 2020.
But first, we must render who and what in baseball (and a few other areas) was overrated and over-hated.
In the 14th annual edition of this list, it sure seems like we continue to trend the wrong way when it comes to oversimplifying and overdramatizing people, entities and trends. Which is good for this feature, less so for the world.
Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season and, Lord help us, a better 2021. And with that…
Pete Alonso: Over-hated.
Trevor Bauer: While he’s extremely talented and resourceful, I wonder whether he’d be too social media-ted for New York.
Carlos Beltran: Overrated as a martyr. I think he deserves a second chance, yet he screwed up and the Mets made the right call in dismissing him.
Mookie Betts: Over-hated by Red Sox ownership, who should’ve done everything possible to keep him.
Aaron Boone: He really over-complicated the ALDS.
Robinson Cano: Over-medicated. On the plus side, he has never been more popular among the Mets fan base.
Cardboard cutouts: Over-hated.
Brian Cashman: Over-hated.
Yoenis Cespedes: Remember when the Mets over-consternated the public by creating concern over his whereabouts? It’s a perfect example of why ownership competence extends beyond how much is spent on players.
Aroldis Chapman: Over-hated as a late-inning asset, he over-skated after dangerously throwing behind Mike Brosseau.
Steve Cohen: Overrated. Just kidding.
Gerrit Cole: Besides getting a little over-agitated after one regular-season start went south, he adjusted pretty well.
Alex Cora: Over-hated. Maybe enervated too, though.
Jim Crane: Grossly over-exonerated by the commissioner during the Astros sign-stealing scandal.
J.D. Davis: Overrated.
Edwin Diaz: Overrated.
Theo Epstein: Even he acknowledged he can be a bit overrated when it comes to maintaining organizational excellence.
Fake crowd noise: Overrated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: The inaugural member of our Over-Hated Hall of Fame, his horrendous ceremonial first pitch notwithstanding.
Clint Frazier: He more than over-compensated for his previous deficiencies in all areas.
Adam Gase: Over-hated. Just kidding.
Kevin Gausman: Overrated.
Brett Gardner: Over-hated.
Jim Harbaugh: Overrated.
LeBron James: Over-hated.
Aaron Judge: Over-hated.
George A. King III: I wish we could’ve over-celebrated his retirement after a phenomenal career. Hopefully later this year we’ll toast and roast him appropriately.
Clayton Kershaw: Over-hated.
Tony La Russa: Over-inebriated.
DJ LeMahieu: Overrated, only in the sense of his imperfect fit with the rest of the Yankees’ roster.
Seth Lugo, reliever: Over-hated by him.
Seth Lugo, starting pitcher: Overrated.
Rob Manfred: He and Tony Clark both get overheated during times of collective-bargaining stress, as occurred memorably this past year, and must kick that shared nasty habit.
Steven Matz: Over-hated.
James McCann: Overrated when you match up his numbers against his contract, but I like that the Mets bet on the person.
Kim Ng: This year’s recipient of the over-waited label.
Pitchers hitting: Overrated.
J.T. Realmuto: Is his market overrated, in the sense that there don’t seem to be any great landing spots besides re-upping with the Phillies?
Removing Blake Snell from World Series Game 6: Over-hated.
Replacing Snell with Nick Anderson: Overrated.
Luis Rojas: Over-formulated by Brodie Van Wagenen. Managers need a little room to breathe.
Amed Rosario: Over-hated.
Gary Sanchez: Both.
“Schitt’s Creek”: Over-David! Best quarantine show ever.
Sixty-game seasons: Overrated for evaluative purposes. See: Lindor, Francisco.
Dom Smith: Over-nothing. His heartfelt reaction to the Jaocb Blake shooting eloquently illustrated the pain that so many felt.
George Springer: His age (31) might make him slightly overrated, although he’d still be a great acquisition for the Mets.
Giancarlo Stanton: Over-hated off the field, over-disintegrated on it. During those rare times he is healthy, though…
John Stearns: Over-hated.
Swinging at a 3-and-0 pitch up seven runs late in the game: Over-hated.
Masahiro Tanaka: Over-hated.
“Tiger King”: While it’s overrated as must-see TV, I’m just as curious as the next person about what the heck happened to Carole Baskin’s husband.
Justin Turner: Over-caffeinated — or just plain irresponsible — when it came to being with his Dodgers teammates after they won it all.
Gleyber Torres: Overrated as a shortstop.
Luke Voit: If you held any concerns about him being over-authoritative when he ripped into his teammates, he more than alleviated those by thriving while injured.
The Wilpons: Their legacy, unfortunately for them, is that they over-associated with Bernie Madoff and never recovered.
Let’s catch up on Pop Quiz questions. Both came from the late Jan Bottone of Wellesley, Mass.:
1. Name the pitcher, active at the time (and now inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame), who was the subject of an Andy Warhol painting in 1977.
2. In the 1956 film “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” a character remarks that he cannot get used to a certain MLB team being recognized as World Series champions. Name the team.
Thanks to all who read my column last week on the great Cleon Jones and donated to his foundation. Cleon reported to Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ vice president of alumni public relations, that over $3,000 came in after the story launched. Love it! All of that money goes toward repairing roofs in Africatown.
Check the MLB Network’s listings for a new documentary, “Icons Lost,” a wonderful tribute to the six Hall of Famers who died in 2020.
Your Pop Quiz answers:
1. Tom Seaver (one of those icons lost)
2. The Brooklyn Dodgers
If you have a tidbit that connects baseball with popular culture, please send it to me at [email protected]
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