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Juan Uribe popular not only with fans but with Mets teammates

New York Mets Juan Uribe (2) during Game

New York Mets Juan Uribe (2) during Game 4 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday/ Thomas A. Ferrara

Even in this era of advanced metrics, there is no statistic to measure the likelihood of a 36-year-old utility player getting a standing ovation and then getting a key hit after missing more than a month because of a chest injury.

Juan Uribe is proof that in the World Series, there is room for things that just don't add up.

The Mets infielder drew roars at Citi Field before and after he delivered a key RBI single in a four-run sixth inning in Game 3 Friday night. "When the team brought me here, I was thinking this team has a lot of talent,'' he said. "I was thinking this team can go to the World Series, and we're here right now."

Although the Mets are devotees of the numerical analyses available now, they still put stock in a manager's gut feelings and a ballplayer's heart.

Uribe took the intangible concept to a new level Friday when he got a key pinch hit after being sidelined since Sept. 25. In a way, his value to the Mets is determined by the same method that baseball's sabermetricians use: past performance as a predictor of future performance. The club likes the fact that he has won two World Series rings, in 2005 and 2010.

But Uribe is more than the sum of his stats. After joining the Mets -- after stays with the Dodgers and Braves earlier in 2015 -- he batted only .219 in 44 games.

"Numbers are very, very important and they're very useful," Terry Collins said before Game 4. "But there are players who bring a presence to a team and numbers can't describe it. There's the personality, the overachieving, the energy sometimes that some guys bring. And Juan Uribe is a guy who has done this before and had success doing it."

Collins added that Uribe "has the innate ability to get the barrel of the bat to a 97-mile-an-hour fastball. It's hard to do. But he knows enough."

Maybe more important is Uribe's innate ability to spread exuberance and confidence.

Wilmer Flores said, "He's always fun. You learn a lot from him. He's been around a long time, he's been in the World Series before. What he did [Friday] was really special."

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