The Resurgence of Scott Hairston, or Why Fans Don't Manage


Met fans who did not want Scott Hairston cut from the roster at the end of April — I commend you.  At that point, the 31-year-old journeyman outfielder, whom Sandy Alderson signed to a 1-year, $1.1 M deal, looked worthless.  In his first month as a Met, Hairston went 5-for-34 with 12 strikeouts.  Many of us wanted him gone.  Terry Collins wanted him to keep playing.  This time, Terry knew best.

Slowly but surely, Hairston has gotten his mojo back, first raising his average, then finding his power stroke, and finally putting it all together yesterday, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and a career-high five RBIs.

It’s not like his performance in May was so convincing.  He had a couple multi-hit games, but had no home runs or RBIs.  In early June he was back at his career average of .245, but in 58 plate appearances he had hit just one home run.  The Mets signed Hairston for his pop, and he wasn’t providing any.

Then, on June 12, he hit a pinch-hit homer in a win over the Pirates.  Four days later, he crushed a three-run, game-tying shot against the Braves.  On June 29, he hit a bases-clearing triple in the first inning against Detroit. On July 8, he went deep against Brian Wilson in the ninth to put the Mets ahead.  And yesterday, he did it all.

Now, a season that once looked doomed for disappointment looks pretty impressive.  In 99 plate appearances, Hairston has five homers, 18 RBIs and an .850 OPS.  In 40 PAs since June 12, he has four homers and 13 RBIs.

Perhaps Collins doesn’t have many other options besides Hairston, but he kept giving him at-bats — and important ones.  Having those chances helped Hairston break out of his slump, but having a manager who believed in him probably helped, too.

After Hairston’s home run yesterday, you could read his lips in the dugout: “That felt good,” he said.

I felt good knowing the Mets didn’t give up on him too soon.

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