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Monday, March 25, 2013

WSJ: The King of the Accidental Phone Call

Sounds like Horvitz is the only Met higher-up on good terms with $!

During their disappointing 2012 season, the Jets became known for the butt fumble, caused by quarterback Mark Sanchez’s unfortunate collision with teammate Brandon Moore’s rear end. Across town, the Mets are countering with a derrière distinction of their own: the butt dialer.

That would be Jay Horwitz, the team’s longtime director of media relations…

Like most butt dials, the ones from Horwitz’s phone are caused when it shifts in the pocket of his pants. It usually happens when he’s walking or sitting. For whatever reason, he refuses to lock his BlackBerry ...

Even when they’re on the field, players aren’t safe from the butt dialer. First baseman Ike Davis said he’s received more than 100 butt dials from Horwitz, but none confused him more than the one he received during a game.

“When I got back to my locker, I checked my phone and the missed call was from 8:10 p.m.,” Davis said. “I’m like, why would he call me at that time? I’m at first base. He sees me at first base.” ...

Players have even tried escaping to other countries, but the butt dialer has no regard for international borders. Nelson Figueroa was in the Dominican Republic pitching in a winter league recently when the butt dialer struck. It had been three years since Figueroa pitched for the Mets and nearly two years since he last appeared in the majors.

He wondered: Were the Mets interested in bringing him back, at long last? Alas, the only interested party was Horwitz’s backside. “His butt’s got a mind of its own,” Figueroa said.

It isn’t as if Horwitz isn’t adept at using new technology. He recently joined Twitter. Through his account (@Jay_HorwitzPR), he dispenses vital communiqués about the Mets directly to fans.

For example, just before the start of spring training, he tweeted a photo of himself shirtless in a swimming pool, buoyed by a tube and a pair of floaties, with goggles over his eyes and a snorkel lodged in his mouth. Other tweets have included such updates as “Hy” and “Congrats to $.” On March 2, he simply tweeted the letter O.

Still, for all his social media savvy, mastering the BlackBerry has proved difficult for him…

For someone who must remain in constant contact with Mets players and executives, the butt dialing has complicated things a bit. Many players now refuse to answer Horwitz’s calls unless he sends a text message saying it is really him.

The District Attorney Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, technology

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   1. Anonymous Observer Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4395800)
I don't know if his refusal to lock his phone is laziness or stupidity. But, either way, he needs one of these:

I would have embedded that link into "these", but I can never remember how to do that.
   2. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4395807)
With most every phone all you have to do is have it lock when the screen goes dim. All smartphones and messaging phones do that, my 2003-era Nokia 1100 did that, and whatever it was that I was using in 1999 did it as well.
   3. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4395816)
Based on his photo, I'm tracking about ten years behind Horwitz. I've had a cellphone since about 2000, just found out in the last couple of months you could lock it. Never occurred to me you could do that voluntarily.
   4. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4395823)
I found out my first Blackberry could lock when I dropped it and it landed on the lock button. Then I had to find the manual to figure out how to unlock it. At first I tried dropping it again, but that didn't work out.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4395842)
I think this article means we are officially bored with spring training and are ready for the season to begin.

Or maybe we're bored with the Mets and are ready for them to be done.
   6. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4395850)
It's ok to not knw how to lock your phone, unless you are a director of media relations.

But hey, the Mets aren't a real business anyways.
   7. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: March 25, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4395867)
This is hysterical.
   8. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 25, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4395874)
The Mets should put Jay Horvitz's ass in charge of player acquisition and development.
   9. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: March 25, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4396256)
What a great article. Kudos to Costa for thinking of writing about this.
   10. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 25, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4396271)
My Droid sometimes dials out when I don't want it to- but it's self locking when the screen dims so it doesn't do it from my pocket...

   11. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 25, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4396285)
A few years ago, while doubling as the Mets' assistant traveling secretary, Horwitz would often try to email players' flight itineraries to an administrative assistant in the general manager's office. The assistant was a woman named Dianne, but when Horwitz typed in the D, he would inadvertently email third baseman David 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."


Also we get the revelation that people call Livan Hernandez "Livo". How do you pronounce that? "Leave-o", I guess. I always accent "Livan" on the second syllable but maybe I'm wrong.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 25, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4396324)
The whole thing's been going on for years. People are just now starting to learn about how, uh, different he is.

Fine line between "different" and incompetent.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4396370)

Jay's tweets are hilarious. It helps if you've met him, but it's not mandatory.

also, from two springs ago:

the classic kicker:

"In 2003, Horwitz decided to attend his 40th high school reunion. The person he was most excited to see was Sandy Penk, a cute majorette who had been his boyhood crush. In anticipation of the big evening, Horwitz broke out his 1986 World Series ring, which he rarely wore. "I wanted to impress her," he says. "To show off a little."

One problem: Upon arriving at the site of the reunion, Horwitz was crestfallen to learn that he had the wrong date, and the event had already taken place. "As if that wasn't bad enough," he says, "my fingers had gotten so fat, I had to have the ring cut off my hand. It's sitting in my house somewhere, split in two."

Penk, now 66, retired and living in New Jersey, was unaware of Horwitz's feelings. "He was a very funny, very outgoing boy back in school," says Penk, who hasn't spoken with Horwitz since they graduated. "But I didn't know he thought of me that way.''

The thought is conveyed to Horwitz, who giggles. "Sandy Penk remembers me?" he says. "I can't believe it."

Indeed, she does. Jay Horwitz, after all, is hard to forget."
   14. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4396401)
Fine line between "different" and incompetent.

I think we know which side of this line the Mets are on.
   15. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:43 PM (#4396407)
This was great. Also just realized via Facebook that the author is a friend from high school's husband.

/cool story, bro
   16. Loren F. Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4396418)
So is this article the most positive press the Mets will get all year?
   17. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4396434)
The annoying thing about BB buttdialing was that even if it locked, it didn't have to unlock to place an emergency/911 call.

This bit me 3 times... Every time, I'd spend an hour trying to figure out if there was some way to disable this - but never figured it out. I was pretty happy when I was finally just able to synch my iphone with work e-mail and enter that into the phone system and say goodbye to the BB. Buttdialing is preferrable to profusely apologizing to a 911 operator for being an idiot.

Blackberry is doner than Microsoft at this point...
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:58 PM (#4396451)
Had a BlackBerry back when I was a working stiff, but didn't have any butt dialing problem. Used it mostly for e-mail, much less for the phone, and wore it on the hip in a case. Maybe it's different if you stick it in a pocket.
   19. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4396453)
Had a BlackBerry back when I was a working stiff, but didn't have any butt dialing problem. Used it mostly for e-mail, much less for the phone, and wore it on the hip in a case. Maybe it's different if you stick it in a pocket.

It is.

You're not seeing wearing a blackberry belt clip ;-)
   20. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4396456)
Thanks to this thread, I just figured out why my phone has a button with a padlock symbol on it.

   21. depletion Posted: March 26, 2013 at 08:23 AM (#4396536)
More WSJ:
"Jay is an optimist by nature," says Bobby Bonilla, the former Mets slugger who credits Horwitz with helping him survive a rocky (to be polite) Big Apple run. "He sees the good, even when there isn't much."

Anyone volunteering for this schedule?
On most spring training days, Horwitz wakes up at 4:30 am, and arrives at Tradition Field 20 minutes later. During the season, he'll pull into the Citi Field parking lot at 6:30 a.m. for a 7 p.m. game.

The penultimate mensch. I would rather have a guy who makes incorrect calls and also has my back, than the slicker man who's ready to leave at the first sign of trouble.

Also. Never saw him buttdial.
   22. zack Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4396632)
I generally find Horowitz one of the few enduring, endearing parts of the Mets. But this, for a person who's job requires that the people on the other end always pick up, is pretty bad.

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