Classic card of the week

Jeromy Burnitz, 1991 Upper Deck Prospects

When the Mets selected Burnitz in the first round of the ’90 draft out of Oklahoma State University, many critics thought New York drafted him too high.

Mets? Criticized for personnel decisions? Really? Weird.

After all, he never matched his .403 freshman season and struggled against left-handed pitching as a junior.

In the Mets’ defense, I’m not entirely sure that “hitting over .400 only once” and “being a young left-handed hitter that struggled against left-handed pitching one year” necessarily qualify as valid reasons to avoid selecting a player high in the draft. Nevertheless, what did the Mets see in Burnitz?

The Mets, however, were sold on Burnitz, who attained the highest score ever on a psychological test the New York Mets administrators give to all prospective draftees.

Question 21: What is your favorite color?
A. Lilac
B. Blue is my favorite color, but my least favorite feeling, Go figure
C. Auburn
D. My favorite color is subjective data and does not define me as a person
E. Green
F. My favorite color is not listed here

(Jeromy Burnitz’s correct answer: B)

Question 36: A person yells at you from the stands, “You suck at playing baseball!” You respond by:
A. Engaging this person further by yelling back something witty to the effect of, “You suck at life, jerkface!”
B. Waiting until after the game to confront and then spit at this person
C. Ignoring this person
D. Throwing firecrackers in the direction of small children
E. Asking management to renegotiate your contract
F. Going 0-for-4

(Jeromy Burnitz’s correct answer: C.)

Question 88: Former Met Lenny Dykstra offers you financial advice. You:
A. Accept it and immediately implement it into your financial profile because: who doesn’t listen to Lenny Dykstra?
B. Equate his hustle with sound investment strategy, accept his advice, but don’t do anything drastic before more research is done by a non-steroid-using financial professional
C. Keep all your money underneath a mattress at your mother-in-law’s house and thus do not concern yourself with a fluctuating stock market
D. Ignore Lenny Dykstra and accept the accompanying risks in doing so, as outlined by Lenny Dykstra
E. Give Lenny Dykstra your money and tell him to invest it in his future line of gold airplanes
F. Subscribe to his magazine but advance the relationship no further

(Jeromy Burnitz’s correct answer: B.)

Question 103: Dwight Gooden Keith Hernandez Darryl Strawberry Lenny Dykstra Somebody not affiliated with the Mets organization offers you drugs. Your reaction is:
A. Just saying ‘No’
B. Taking off your shirt and challenging the entire team to a fight
C. Depends on the drug
D. To close your eyes and have them inject you wherever
E. Just saying ‘No.’ (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
F. Offer them your drugs as a token of appreciation

(Jeromy Burnitz’s correct answer: C.)

Through these sample questions that I illegally obtained from the Jeromy Burnitz file of the Mets’ front office – nobody was at the front desk -- you can see why the organization was so smitten with him, despite his inability to hit .403 multiple times in college. However, in vintage Mets fashion, the ensuing criticism with regards to where they drafted him led to their impatience, and they dealt him to Cleveland in ’94. Burnitz would eventually attain All-Star status with the Brewers – justifying the Mets faith albeit while with a different ballclub – and the Mets thusly compounded their error by reacquiring Burnitz in 2002 when he was much, much more expensive and not as good at playing baseball.

Throughout it all however, Jeromy Burnitz’s favorite color remained blue.

Did you know?
The Mets' Director of Psychological Evaluations -- Samuel G. Rowenwarts -- became famous around the team's front offices for wearing Mets-themed Zubaz on casual Fridays.