Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Three Observations From The Reyes Return

As I walked into Citi Field last night I had this awkward, sick feeling in my stomach.  No.  It was not the fact that the Mets were about to face Josh Johnson (a very daunting task in itself).  This feeling was caused by the thought of seeing Jose Reyes in another teams uniform, and not just any team, the Mets division rival and hated Miami Marlins.  I knew what I was about to see but I was simply not prepared for it.  When I saw Reyes pop out of the dugout along the visiting 3rd baseline my body all of a sudden went frozen.  I felt like I was standing in an icebox for 4 hours.  It was awful.  The emotions running through my body were similar to how someone would react after seeing their ex-wife with her new husband for the first time since their split.  Reyes did his usual joking around in pre-game warm-ups; however, this time it was with Hanley Ramirez and Emilio Bonifacio.  Every time he ran back towards the foul line from a sprint the fans along the side wall would chant his name, "JOSE, JOSE, JOSE."  He even stopped by to sign a few autographs for the screaming fans.  After his attempt to please a few New York faithful with his signature, he made his way to the visitors dugout in anticipation for the "video tribute heard around the world."  It was during the video tribute that I made these 3 observations:

1.  Jose Reyes Expected More - It was obvious that Reyes was reading and listening to the media on his off day in New York.  He new very well that he was receiving his tribute.  He was prepared.  After the Marlins completed their warm-ups along the 3rd base foul line they all retreated back into the dugout.  But not Reyes.  He stood outside the dugout staring at "Citi Vision" waiting to see all his accolades in the Blue and Orange.  Finally, the moment came.  All of a sudden highlights of Reyes hitting triples and stealing bases popped up on the screen.  And in a blink of an eye, it was over.  In fact, it was over so quick Reyes himself didn't know what to do.  The crowd booed more than they cheered and Reyes waived his hat and quickly returned to the dugout stunned.  Reyes expected a lot more .  He thought Alex Anthony (the Mets PA) was going to make an announcement to the fans saying, "Welcome Home Jose" while the thousands of fans in attendance cheered until they were red in the face.  However, this was not the case.  It was obvious that Reyes was hurt by the tribute, or shall we say, lack thereof.  One thing is for sure.  Reyes is now the enemy and the Mets organization and their fans let him know. 

2.  Hanley Ramirez Is Very Jealous - When it was made public that the Marlins were going to make a full court press on Jose Reyes it was reported that Hanley Ramirez was not happy.  However, most professional athletes have been in the business long enough to understand that rumors are part of the game and until they become reality, they can be ignored.  This is exactly what Ramirez did, but sure enough,  Reyes signed with the Marlins pushing a disgruntled Hanley Ramirez to 3rd base.  At first it was reported Ramirez was upset about the move, but over time, he changed his tune and said he was ready to play 3rd base.  However, after watching the way Ramirez handled the video tribute to Reyes it was obvious that he was jealous.  Ramirez decided to join Reyes on the top step for the tribute and was clearly uncomfortable with Reyes getting attention.  He sarcastically clapped and mocked Jose while Reyes was watching the screen.  Then after the tribute was over and the camera in the ballpark flipped over to Reyes, Hanley made it a point that his face made it on camera.  This is pure speculation on my part; however, I would not be surprised if Reyes and Ramirez do not last as teammates through the length of Reyes' new 6 year deal.  There is definitely animosity there. 

3.  Reyes Is Easy To Root Against - A friend at work who is a die-hard Yankees fan had been telling me for years that the reason why he hated the Mets so much recently was because of Jose Reyes. He said his hand-shakes and gyrations on the ball field that Mets fans had grown to love were a blatant disrespect to other teams.  As a blinded Mets fan I could never understand his argument.  I couldn't understand why Reyes was so hated by fans other than ones that rooted for the Mets.  However, after one game with Reyes as the enemy, I now clearly understand his feelings.  Watching him go through the dugout doing his planned handshakes with his teammates made me sick.  It was as if he was mocking the Mets by saying, "we are going to dominate you and there is nothing you can do about it."  His demeanor on the field is extremely cocky.  He carries a certain arrogance around with him as if he is better than everyone else.  This makes me think back to the 2006 NLCS.  After the Cardinals finished off the Mets to claim the NL pennant they were heard in their locker room mocking the Mets and the famous"Jose, Jose, Jose Jose" chant that was so often heard at Shea Stadium.  At the time I was furious and could not believe a professional baseball team would do something so that seemed so class-less.  However, thinking back 6 years after the fact my tune has completely changed.  Why wouldn't they mock the player who had no problem rubbing it in their face every time he stole a base?  Jose Reyes is now the enemy.