The Butt-Dialing Champion of the World Works for the New York Mets | Smart News | Smithsonian

Keeping you current

The Butt-Dialing Champion of the World Works for the New York Mets

The director of media relations for the Mets calls people by accident sometimes several times a day - from current players, to team executives to coaches

smithsonian.com

Don’t carry your phone like this. Image: John

Jay Horwitz can’t stop accidentally butt dialing his players. The director of media relations for the Mets calls people by accident sometimes several times a day – from current players, to team executives to coaches. The Wall Street Journal‘s Brian Costa puts it this way:

Horwitz, 67, may be the Cal Ripken Jr. of public-relations men, hardly ever taking a day off. But he is the Barry Bonds of butt dialers, putting up staggering numbers and shattering all records. By now, his career butt dials number in the thousands.

Horwitz has worked for Major League Baseball since 1980, and as a media relations man his job is to have lots of phone numbers. Which means that there are more than 1,000 people in his phone—all of them potential victims. And it appears as though each one of those numbers has an equal chance of getting a mysterious, 4 a.m. ring. “It’s so strange because there is no rhyme or reason to who gets called,” outfielder Mike Baxter told the Wall Street Journal. Horwitz even calls people, by accident, during games. Ike Davis got a call from Horwitz at 8:10 p.m. one night—while Davis was playing. “I’m like, why would he call me at that time? I’m at first base. He sees me at first base,” he told the WSJ.

For all his media savviness, Horwitz admits that he has a butt-dialing problem. He’s on Twitter and has thirty years of experience building the Mets media presence. And yet he doesn’t seem to know how to stop the calls that stretch beyond countries, beyond contracts and beyond the realm of reasonability. In fact, some players refuse to pick up the phone when he calls, unless he sends them a text message saying that he’s calling intentionally.

Of course, there are all sorts of ways to prevent butt-dialing people, but one has to assume that someone has pointed them out to Horwitz at this point. T-Mobile advertised a phone simply on the single point that it flips closed, to avoid this exact problem.

But Horwitz can take solace in the fact that he is not the most dangerous of all butt dialers. Butt-dialing a former Met might be embarrassing, but at least it doesn’t result in police showing up at your house. Unintentional calls are a huge issue for 911 dispatchers. In King County, Washington, something like 30 percent of wireless 911 calls were made by accident in 2003, for instance. Thankfully, at least as far as he knows, Horwitz has never accidentally dispatched emergency services to first base, even if the Mets might need them.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Your Cell Phone Could Soon Become Part of a Massive Earthquake Detection System
Coming Soon: A Natural History of the Cell Phone

Tags
About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus