March 28, 2013 at 10:31 AM ET
The calls come at 4 a.m., in the middle of games, and anytime in between.
Jay Horwitz, who has been the New York Mets’ director of media relations since 1980, has claimed almost too many victims to count with his BlackBerry.
“Now I’m known as a professional butt-dialer,’’ Horwitz told TODAY Thursday. “That’ll be on my tombstone.’’
Horwitz, 67, routinely butt-dials current and former Mets several times a day or week with accidental pocket phone calls that leave them saying, “Jay? Jay? Hello?”
With more than 1,000 numbers programmed into his BlackBerry, according to The Wall Street Journal, there is a wide range of potential victims.
“I’ve been butt-dialed around close to 150 times,’’ Mets first baseman Ike Davis told TODAY.
“Sometimes Jay’s name pops up at 4 in the morning, and you are not really sure why he would be calling you at that time,’’ Mets outfielder Mike Baxter told TODAY. “You give him a call back and he has no idea that he’s called you.’’
It all begs the question: Why doesn’t Horwitz just lock his phone?
“Because then I would have to unlock it,’’ Horwitz said.
The calls don’t stop after the first pitch, either. Davis told The Wall Street Journal that he once discovered a missed call from Horwitz while at his locker after a game. The missed call came while Davis was standing on first base.
“I was like, ‘Why are you calling me during the game?’’’ Davis said. “You see me on the field, so why would you call me?’’
“I say, ‘Ike, I have no explanation,’’’ Horwitz said. “I keep (the phone) in my front pocket. I jiggle it and there you go.’’
Baxter and many others have fielded calls from Horwitz after midnight, too.
“You know, I sleep with my phone,’’ Horwitz said. “A lot of times, I’ll accidentally call somebody in the middle of the night.’’
Former Mets pitchers Livan Hernandez and Ramon Ramirez have been butt-dialed by Horwitz long after they left the team. Former Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa, who departed the major league two years ago, got a call from Horwitz in the Dominican Republic and thought maybe the Mets were interested in bringing him back, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Even though Horwitz’s cell phone malady can be exasperating, the Mets can’t help but laugh it off. It’s clear that technology is not Horwitz’s friend, as he also started a Twitter account, @Jay_HorwitzPR, where he posted such gems as “Hy,” “Congrats to $,” and just the letter "O.''
“There’s nobody who cares more about the New York Mets,’’ star third baseman David Wright told TODAY. “There’s nobody that works as hard. Ultimately, you always walk away with a smile on your face.’’
Still, Mets players have altered their behavior when they see Horwitz’s number flash across the screen of their phones, often refusing to answer unless he follows up to say it’s really him. They have also contemplated revenge.
“He has to text me,’’ Davis said. “I’m not going to answer a ‘pocket’ anymore. I’m over it.’’
“I think we should all start dialing him at random hours to see how he reacts,’’ Baxter said.