Terrance Gore’s precise science of stealing a base secures another MLB shot with the Mets

Buck Showalter hasn’t seen many faster players than Terrance Gore. In fact, the only name that could come to mind when asked about it before the Mets’ series opener against the Washington Nationals on Friday was NFL Hall of Fame cornerback and former Yankee Deion Sanders.

“He’s a weapon,” Showalter said of his new base-stealing prodigy. “Probably the closest I would compare him to was Deion … He was a guy who just transcended baseball. The first time I saw it, it was a different level of speed that I had ever seen. He would take off after the ball was halfway to the plate and just outrun it in the last half second. The acceleration, I had never seen anyone run like that in my life.

The Mets’ newest weapon received his call to return to the majors on Wednesday, continuing what has been one of the most improbable yet specialized careers in MLB history.

Gore has appeared in just 103 regular-season games over the past nine years — racking up 67 hits and 41 stolen bases — along with 10 more in the postseason. He made just two playoff appearances, but stole five bags in the process, using his speed to win World Series rings with the Kansas City Royals in 2015 and the Atlanta Braves last season.

Now in New York, the 31-year-old is getting his first taste of regular-season action since 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers — another team that won a title the same year they used Gore, though he didn’t make a playoff appearance for them – after being signed to a minor league deal by the Mets in June.

“My agent called me, I would say May, June, and said the Mets want you down [to Florida] and get ready to play some games. I didn’t hesitate at all,” Gore told amNewYork. “I already knew the Mets were a really good team and I knew they had a pretty good chance to make the postseason, so there was no hesitation at all which team I wanted to go to. They were the first to call and I said I’m in it for sure, sign me up.”

After nearly three months with the Cubs, he didn’t wait long to take advantage of his first opportunity. With a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning of Thursday’s series finale against the Dodgers, he was called upon to pinch-run for Daniel Vogelbach, who had walked. On the first toss provided to the next batter, Mark Canha, Gore was out – executing a perfect leg, pop-up slide at second to beat Will Smith’s toss.

“I talked to Buck and a couple guys and told them it was good to get the first one out of the way,” Gore said. “I didn’t want to go there and do something bad and get thrown out and they’d be like, ‘that guy stinks.’ So it was good to get that monkey off my back.

It was also a clear indication that the Mets, who are tied for the eighth fewest stolen bases in the game, will benefit from that influx of speed, which will only accentuate an offense that plays as close to a small-ball brand as you’ll find. in today’s major leagues.

Sure, Gore’s body of work may seem one-dimensional to the casual viewer, but there’s a science to what made him the base-stealing mercenary who built a nearly decade-long career in the majors.

“I asked our guy in Triple-A and he said all the guy does is prepare for that opportunity,” Showalter said. “Think about it. You take care of that instrument, you can do it very well, and he’s been doing it for a long time. It’s obvious that he takes a lot of pride in it. He knows what he has to do to maintain that speed. He getting ready for that one burst, maybe two bursts. It’s pretty cool.”

That includes Gore spending roughly an hour and a half each day studying film of opposing pitchers to time them and memorize their motion to ensure he can make the best jump shot possible. The better the recognition, the better his chances of sneaking in safely, even though everyone in the stadium knows what he’s going to do.

After all, that’s what he’s here for.

“It’s actually a lot of work. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m just going out there and just running,” Gore said. “Everything I do, I do it with a purpose. I realized my role, I know what I have to do and I try to improve it as much as possible. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but still, coming into a new organization, coming into a new team, my name is already out there, so people know exactly what I’m there for and what I’m doing. It’s no surprise to see what happens.”

For more information on Terrance Gore and the Mets, visit AMNY.com

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