Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jose Reyes Wins NL Batting Title, But Upsets Fans

Make this one down in the history books.  On Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, Jose Reyes became the first Met in franchise history to win a batting title, finishing the season with an impressive .337 batting average.  However, as is often the case when it comes to the New York Mets, Reyes did so with controversy.

Entering the day with a slight lead over Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jose Reyes chose to pull himself from the game following a first inning bunt single.  Doing so meant he would end the year with his .337 batting average and ensure that Braun would need to go a minimum of 3 for 4 in order to track Reyes down.  Was this a business decision on the part of Reyes?  Was he hedging his bets that Ryan Braun would come up short?  Maybe... but what it the right call?

Wednesday's game wasn't merely the last game of the season or the culmination of a month long sprint to the finish in the batting race.  It was quite possibly the last time Jose Reyes would suit up in a Mets' uniform.  So was it fair to the 28,816 (paid attendance) at the game or those watching at home that his potential finale lasted only a half an hour?

His departure from the game quickly drew the ire of Mets fans both at the stadium and around the internet.  There was no standing ovation and no chants of Jose's name.  There was only Justin Turner replacing Reyes at first base and Jose Reyes trotting into the dugout.  If Wednesday's game was the last time we see Jose as a Met, it seems unfair to nearly everyone that this is how it ended.

If Jose skips town he will get to take his batting title with him, and some of the fans he'll be leaving behind will only be left with the image of him removing himself from his final game...eight innings too early.  Are the fans, myself included, who have taken exception with this decision over reacting?  Maybe...But as a fan who still cannot fathom this team without Jose Reyes, this just didn't seem right.

Despite his remarkable year amidst the mediocrity that was the 2011 Mets, I am left with a "half empty" feeling as the countdown to doomsday begins.  Will he resign?  I hope so.  I even think so, but this is still not the way I wanted to see it end...