The NY Times has a profile on sharply-named Mets third base coach Razor Shines (first name Anthony, but the third of four generations to carry the "Razor" name) and it sheds some light on a less heralded addition to the team that could, perhaps, make as much difference as the two new horses in the bullpen for the Mets hopes of chasing down a pennant in 2009.
For a team that by and large walked into their fate with tight-lipped anxiety last season, that Shines is characterized as being of exuberant personality should mean he'll be a breath of fresh air in a clubhouse that didn't experience all that much turnover:
Watching Shines interact is like a seeing a game of verbal pepper. Don’t let me down now, David. That’s what I’m talking about, Carlos. Good Lord have mercy, José. He is continually talking, constantly moving. He jogs from station to station, bumping fists and slapping fives. Security guards get them, too.
Writer Ben Schpigel notes that Shines enthusiasm complements Manuel's more measured approach, and the two have been friends for almost thirty years. So there should be little risk of Shines coming off as grandstanding for Manuel's job.
The "Razor" has personality, but he also has pedigree. The article leads noting that Shines will soon be receiving his 12th championship ring, the latest as a manager in Philly's farm system. So in addition to personality and pedigree he might still have use as a mole for recon on the enemy.
By all accounts (as included in the story) the Mets have added a perfect base coach to the team, which begs the question: how much does a coach, or manager, really matter? Willie Randolph had pedigree, at the major league level, and a lot of experience with the New York media. None of it helped prevent him from becoming an ex-manager who never quite clicked with the guys covering the team.
In the end Shines provides us with a new case study: does his résumé make him a good luck charm, or something that shold be taken a little more seriously. Shines addition went with little fanfare, but if the Mets improve maybe it will be time to look more closely at why some coaches always win and others don't.