Today at my lunch hour at work, the New York sports media send off a Twitter-frenzy. You would have thought it was a life-changing event, such as the Mets clinching a playoff spot, the Yankees losing their 110th game, or Rex Ryan being caught out on a lunch date with Matt Vereb. But no, it was the actions taken by Jose Reyes and the Mets’ manager, Terry Collins. Odds are that you have heard this by now, but Jose Reyes bunted for a single, which effectively pushed his batting average high enough to edge out Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and practically clinch the NL batting title. Within the hours that came, Twitter, the blogosphere, and sports talk radio exploded, reprimanding Reyes, Collins, and the Mets in general. As all of this happened, from a non-Mets’ fan point of view, I could only wonder one thing: why??
First off, let’s not forget that going into game #162, the New York Mets were 76-85. For those of you counting, that is good for fourth place in the NL East, behind the Washington Nationals. The Mets haven’t been relevant, playoff-wise, since early June. Let’s be honest, nine out of ten people would have wanted the same thing in an insignificant game. If the Mets needed this game for a playoff spot or for playoff seeding purposes, you can bet the house that he would have stayed in and played the whole nine innings.
Also, Met fans. Yes, I’m talking to the 74 of you who were in attendance today (photo courtesy of Evan Roberts). Come twenty years from now, are you going to remember Jose Reyes as one of the most electrifying players in Met history? Or as the guy who wanted to win the batting title, the first in Met history? I know that I will remember him as one of the game’s best players (when healthy) and the best shortstop that has ever played for the team from Flushing.
But let’s not forget the biggest reason why Reyes wanted to be taken out: money. Come December, no one that is a Met fan is going to be complaining about Jose opting for the bench instead of finishing out a meaningless game in front of a dismal crowd. The concern is going to be where Jose is going to sign a deal which will most likely make him the third highest paid shortstop of all-time, behind only Derek Jeter and Troy Tulowitzki. When it comes to negotiating time, do you think that Reyes and his agent, Chris Leible, won’t bring up that Jose won the batting title and most likely finished in the top 5 in MVP voting?
In a week this will all cool down, but in the meantime, let’s enjoy that we got to see Jose Reyes play in New York for the past nine seasons, not bemoan the fact that Jose wanted to win a batting title.