March 25, 2013

SOMEONE LOCK IT FOR HIM:

The King of the Accidental Phone Call (BRIAN COSTA, 3/24/13, WSJ)

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.

As one of Major League Baseball's longest-tenured employees--he has been on the job since 1980--Horwitz also has a massive contacts list. He estimates there are more than 1,000 numbers stored in his phone. How this happens is a mystery to him, but more often than not, the people he butt-dials are the ones he rarely, if ever, intentionally calls.

"It's so strange because there is no rhyme or reason to who gets called," said outfielder Mike Baxter, the recipient of a 4 a.m. Horwitz butt dial last winter. "He just calls random people."

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 try to seek refuge during the off-season, but the butt dialer finds them. Ex-Met Jason Bay learned that the hard way a few winters ago. "I called him back right away and said, 'What's going on?'" Bay said. "He said, 'What do you mean what's going on?'"

Players have tried fleeing to other teams, but wherever they go, the butt dialer follows them. Ramon Ramirez, a forgettable Mets relief pitcher in 2012, was in spring training with the San Francisco Giants last month when the butt dialer struck.

"I was like, 'Who is this?'" Ramirez said. "I called back, but he didn't answer." A month later, Ramirez is still perplexed by the whole episode. "I don't know why he was calling me."

Posted by at March 25, 2013 9:20 PM
  

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