Jay Horwitz, longtime media relations man for the Mets, has a problem. He doesn't know how to use his phone, and refuses to lock it. The result? Thousands and thousands of accidental calls to confused players.
The Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa does god's work with this one: a profile of Horwitz—more specifically, of Horwitz's Blackberry, and the independent hijinks it gets up to in his pocket. He is, as the Journal dubs him, "the Barry Bonds of butt dialers."
Ike Davis has gotten hundreds of calls. Mike Baxter was woken up at 4 a.m. Nelson Figueroa, two years out of MLB, was hopeful that the Mets wanted him back. It was just Horwitz's butt calling. And this:
During a 2010 game against the Rockies in Denver, Horwitz accidentally called ex-Met Livan Hernandez from the Coors Field press box. Hernandez, who was then pitching for the Nationals, returned the call from his locker in Washington a short while later. The ensuing conversation played out like an Abbott and Costello skit.
"You called me?"
"You called me."
To this day, Horwitz accidentally calls Hernandez once a month, for reasons unknown to both men.
Horwitz is as mystified as the recipients of his calls. "I swear to God, I don't know how I do it," he told the Journal. "I'm not real mechanical."
He can't quite grasp his Blackberry's email function, either. The best anecdote in a story full of wonderful anecdotes is Horwitz repeatedly sending players' travel itineraries to David Wright. (He would hit "D," for Dianne, the administrative assistant who was supposed to get them, but email them to Wright instead.)
Wright was too polite to tell Horwitz, so he became a sort of liaison between Horwitz and the woman. "I would just forward the emails to her and say, 'Hey, here's another one from Jay,'" Wright said. "The whole thing's been going on for years. People are just now starting to learn about how, uh, different he is."
Horwitz has been the Mets' PR point man since 1980, and a quick survey of media folks finds his schtick more frustrating than endearing. But there's a reason why the fake Jay Horwitz Twitter account petered out: the real one is weird enough.