Today the Mets defeated the Reds 3-0 in the final game of 2011 at Citi Field. Miguel Batista threw a complete game 2 hit shutout. Mike Baxter, a Queens native, hit his 1st career home run.
But the real story of the day was Jose Reyes. Reyes went 1 for 1 with a lead off bunt single. That’s it. That’s it for his season, as he was trying to win a batting title. That also might be it for his Mets career, as he will enter the off season as one of the most sought after free agents on the market, with the Mets not necessarily having the money to spend on him. I was all ready to write a post blasting Terry Collins for pulling Reyes just so he could get a batting title. But then it came out that Reyes told Collins he wanted to be removed if he got a hit in the first. That changes everything.
The internet has been buzzing about how Reyes decided to pull himself after getting that 1 hit, putting his batting average at .337, enough to win the first National League batting title in Mets history. He’s being heavily criticized for winning it in a cheap way. Especially on the 70th anniversary of Ted Williams risking his .400 batting average by playing both games of a double header (he would go 6 for 8, raising his average to .406).
However I don’t care about batting titles. The last time I checked the only thing you got for a batting title was a pat on the back and maybe a bonus check (both of which Reyes has enough of). I do care however about the 28,816 people that were in attendance today, A decent number for a team full of replacements playing the last game of the year on a Wednesday afternoon, 90% of which were there specifically to see Jose Reyes one more time. Reyes was in the lineup for a total of 12 minutes (trust me, I checked). That means that if you were 15 minutes late to the last game of the season, possibly your first of the year, you completely missed seeing Jose Reyes at all. Sure he was brought out for a curtain call, but no one goes to games to see players wave. They want to see players play. If he comes back, then that moment stands as a mere side note to one of the greatest single seasons a Met has ever had. However if he doesn’t, his last game as a Met will be as anticlimactic as it could possibly have been.
Overall today did not change much. I still want Jose Reyes back. I still can’t blame him if he decides to chase big money or go to a better situation. It’s just a shame that the little bit of selfishness he displayed tarnished a Mets career that has been almost all about a team first attitude, putting Reyes among the most popular Mets of all time.
It may be a little cheap, but batting titles are unique and Reyes is justified in wanting to win one. Doing it in spite of the fans that have supported him for the last 9 years however, is not fair to both the fans and Reyes.
Hopefully next year, Reyes can make it up to the Mets faithful by being in the lineup for them on opening day 2012.