All right, all right. So I said that I'd return before Monday if I was moved. Well, I'm moved.
I was at the Mets game Wednesday. I didn't buy the ticket to say good-bye to Jose Reyes. I bought it a couple of months ago on the slim chance that this game may mean something. But Reyes being healthy enough to play the game was a bonus. I wore my Reyes jersey as a lot of the fans who were there did. He got a nice ovation, a "Jose Jose Jose" chant, and then he got a roar after his bunt single. Then, Reyes left the game for a pinch runner.
My first thought, even though there was no trainer to tend to Reyes, was that he was hurt. That's just always my knee-jerk when it comes to Reyes. was that he was hurt. That's just always my knee-jerk when it comes to Reyes. When I realized that wasn't the case after checking my Twitter feed, I just laughed. That's how I handle most Mets debacles these days ... I laugh. Sure, I was bummed not to be able to see him and "say so long", and maybe it was a little strange for Reyes to take one at-bat and then leave to help his batting title chances at the expense of a good-bye party between him and 15,000 of his closest friends (officially 28,000 plus ... but on the planet earth there were more bloggers there than non-bloggers at this game, trust me) so that he could enjoy a later party to celebrate his batting crown between him and a few less (and much closer) friends. But I just figured "hey, these things happen with the Mets."
But to read some of the reaction on Twitter and elsewhere you would have thought he was arrested. My lord, I thought this kind of vitriol and disgust was saved for players who use steroids, but apparently taking three at-bats off deserves the same amount of outrage as sticking a needle in your ass, which deserves the same amount of outrage as not visiting a veterans' hospital. There's no "low" setting for fire and brimstone anymore, I guess.
Here's why I have no problem with what Reyes did: SNY, for a little over a month, gave us Jose Reyes Batting Race Updates before and after every single game. Met fans wanted this. It was the only thing to look forward to at the end of another disaster of a season. Everybody who has a personal/professional stake in the Mets wanted this to happen. So when Reyes does something to ensure this happens, he gets killed for it? Met fans turn on him and root for Ryan Braun? Is this serious? I get that people were upset that they couldn't say good-bye to Jose Reyes one final time, but we knew his departure was possible for months now and had plenty of time to cheer for him. And if this was such a big deal, then were was the giant walk-up crowd for tickets? Tell me.
People have said that Reyes was selfish. I don't disagree. Big deal. The one small problem I had with this was not that he pulled himself after the hit, and not even that it was a bunt. But it was that Reyes, a guy whose speed is an essential part of his game, almost never bunts for hits, but he puts it in his arsenal for this. But that's a nitpicky thing. The Mets had nothing at sake in this game, and neither did their opponent, the Reds. You want to talk about a team that folded up the tent, the Reds went out and got tagged with a two-hit shutout by a 40-year-old who might have made his final appearance in the bigs. If the Mets were playing in one of those hellacious Wednesday night games against a team that needed a win to stay alive, then I could see why everyone would be a little upset. But even then, the Mets had every right to do what was in the best interests of their players just as the Yankees or any other team have the right to rest up their guys for the playoffs while playing against a desperate team. But the Yankees would never be questioned in the way that Reyes gets questioned because "Oh my god Jose Reyes is that guy that dances and he's evil and he is bad for the game and ... Jimmy Rollins!"
(I'm surprised that Rollins had nothing to say on the matter, but one guy, after being involved in a horrific baseball collapse, felt the need to wax on the subject ... maybe instead of rooting for Braun to get three hits, Peter Moylan's rooting interest would have been better served directed at his own team. I remember 2008, buddy.)
The story that everybody is missing here is the fact that you have a manager who was forever known as a hard-ass sign off on a plan to help an individual go out and win an individual award. (Not to mention that Collins teared up after the game, which was bizarre in and of itself.) The ultimate act of a "players coach" done by a man who was defined as anything but. If Terry Collins has nothing to say about it, why should anybody else?
But the funniest part of all of this are the comparisons to Ted Williams. "Well, Jose Reyes is no Ted Williams." Wow, we're really going to use this to compare Reyes to one of the greatest hitters of all time? Jose Reyes is no Ted Williams. Here's my response to that: No shit! Who the f*** is Ted Williams? Let me ask y'all a question: If Reyes had played the whole game, went 1 for 4, and lost the title because Ryan Braun got two hits instead of three, would people be saying "Well, at least Jose Reyes lost the title with honor like Ted Williams was willing to lose his .400 average back in 1941?" Hell no! Here's what everybody would be saying: "What the f*** is wrong with Terry Collins making Reyes play this meaningless game so he could lose his chance at the first batting title by a New York Met??? Aah, typical Mets screwing things up on the last day of the season." Nobody would be comparing Reyes to Williams favorably then so why make a disparaging comparison now?
Oh, I know why: because it fits the "Mets can't do anything right" narrative that we've used as our children's lullaby for the last five years. I can't wait until the Mets throw their first no-hitter and the media complains that "Well, Nolan Ryan would have never walked Albert Pujols intentionally because Nolan Ryan was a real man who pitched seven no-hitters with his mighty right arm while fending off killer sheep with his left because he pitched when men were men and wouldn't intentionally walk anybody!" Please. The Mets do enough things that legitimately add to the narrative. We don't need to invent anything to add to it. Because if Reyes wasn't a Met, people would be writing about how he came back from injury riddled seasons past to win a batting title and that's such a heart warming story. But he's a Met so cue the circus music. Coming from a guy who blasts this team a lot, this kind of bullshit gets tiresome.
So in short, congratulations to Jose Reyes on his batting title. He deserves it on the merits of his 537 at-bats that he had ... not the three that he missed. And cry not for Ryan Braun, because he gets to go to the playoffs which is what Jose Reyes would have rather had anyway. Believe me, we all wanted it instead of what we got. But that's life. We deal with it. We've dealt with it for years. Why can't people deal with Reyes' batting title?
You don't hit on any of the reasons why this was a terrible decision by Reyes.:
1. I don't care what shy chooses to broadcast. A season is 162 games long. He should have played The game as long as he was healthy. As it was he only played 125 games. He had to take 3 more at bats out of the equation?
2. I don't even understand the paragraph about the reds and folding up the tent. Are you suggesting he pulled himself out of the game to prevent injury?
3. the Ted Williams comparison isn't comparing talent levels. It's comparing reyes to a batting title winner who did it the right way. Reyes did it the cheap way. That's all the comparison is about. And I highly doubt many would have cried foul if Reyes went 0-fer and Braun won. Im not sure why you feel fans would complain about Reyes losing a title due to ordinary baseball circumstances.
Sorry, I like ur other articles but this didn't really address the issue.
< he came back from injury riddled seasons past to win a batting title >
You mean when he was jakin' it?
Seriously, best point made from this whole megillah. Thanks for making it and making Mets seasons that much better when you're moved.
You nailed it: Watching that Braves dugout after their defeat truly was heartwarming. See ya in February...
Thanks guys. Krup, I wish I was that smart. As for the Braves, I couldn't get too excited about their collapse because it RSS the Cardinals that caught them, and the Phillies that knocked them out. But remembering a 72-90 Braves team openly mocking the Mets in 2008 made me feel better. Then seeing Peter Moylan's tweet about rooting for Ryan Braun reminded me why I hate the Braves in the first place. Warms my heart now that Larry has to go home and but his Brewers gear on now.
You do realize that most Mets/baseball fans are not nearly as smart as you are, don't you? Also: I'm jonesin' for a "Braves collapse" post. Pretty please?
Metstradamus, this is why you are officially the man. I already knew that. But this only confirms things. This only contributes to the self-loathing atittude that Mets fans have and willingly give into the lunatic fringe. F them.
First and most importantly, thanks for reading and responding. You say I didn't hit on any of the reasons why this was a terrible decision. That's because I don't think this was a terrible decision. Sorry. I had a whole response to you written but I was told it was too long. Let me see if I can go point by point ...
You may not care what SNY chooses to broadcast, but all I'm saying is that if this wasn't such a big deal, how come this was all anybody talked about down the stretch? All anybody wanted down the stretch? A lot of the same people who were rooting for him to win this batting title were killing him for this move ... and for what? Some sort of integrity of the game that was murdered and buried long ago by players, owners, television dollars, and the commissioner's office? I'm just saying that if this wasn't something that should have been so important to Reyes and to Met fans, then why was it being thrown in our faces 24/7? I was even gettng sick of SNY's constant batting race updates. But if that was the only thing of any value going on, how can you blame Jose for wanting it and for thinking about what was the best course of action for him to get it if that's all anybody talked to him about and covered?
To me, this was a minor footnote at best, and people made it sound like Reyes committed an atrocity towards baseball. I just think in general (not specifically to you) we need to pick and choose our outrage a little more carefully. Maybe I need to as well, who knows. But again, thanks ... and I respect your alternate perspective. Sorry this took so long and that I comment-bombed my own post :)
I understand that the Williams comparison isn't about talent levels. But how come Reyes has to be compared unfairly to a legend because he didn't do what Ted Williams did? There are thousands of examples of players sitting out like Reyes did yet only one example of what Ted Williams did (see the link above). There must be only one because that's the only one anybody brings up. Ted Williams was one of a kind. Even George Brett, who was one of the best third basemen ever, did the same thing. Williams is an unfair comparison, especially because nobody would make a favorable comparison to him if Reyes had stayed in the whole game. The Williams comparison was used to bash Reyes because people want to bash Reyes. It would not have been used to praise him if it had gone the other way and Reyes lost the title. I also don't believe that the same comparison gets made if it was Derek Jeter who did it, or if it was another one of baseball's favorite sons. Reyes is seen as an over-exuberant hot dog who plays for baseball's running joke so he gets bashed. And I don't think it's fair.
Jose Reyes took three at-bats off. The Reds took the whole game off. That was my point. If it's okay to not give your best effort on the last game of the season because there's nothing on the line like the Reds clearly did in front of paying customers, then I don't have a problem with what Reyes did. The game meant nothing. Met fans wanted a batting title. Reyes wanted a batting title. What is so wrong with that? Doesn't matter to me because I would rather be in Ryan Braun's shoes and finish second and still be playing. But Reyes wanted it so he got it. And in my mind, he deserves it because of all the garbage he's been through with injuries, unfair criticism about dancing and exuberance, and his own owner saying "he won't get Carl Crawford money" in a New Yorker article. So he thinks of himself for one game. This isn't John Abraham not playing in a playoff game because he's worried about being healthy enough for his next contract. This is Jose Reyes being selfish for one day out of 162 when every other reason to play was dead and buried.
And a season may be 162 games long but you don't have to play 162 games to be eligible for the title. Rules are rules. And yeah, he only played 125 games as it was, as you say. That means he missed 36 already. What was three more lousy at-bats on top of 36? It would have been worse in my mind if he had played every at-bat this year and then took off three at-bats, but even then I can't see that this is a big enough problem for this to be a "controversy". Are we going to put a stupid asterisk by this like we want to put asterisks on everything else? Like all the other times that players took the last game or so off to win their titles? This isn't the first time this has happened nor will it be the last.
To say he should have played the game as long as he was healthy, I don't get. Let me ask you, would it have been worse or better had he taken the entire day off, in your mind?