This has been well covered by now, and probably forgotten after Wednesday night’s greatness, but Jose Reyes broke a cardinal rule of competition. The Mets didn’t do it, Jose Reyes did it. And he didn’t break an unwritten rule of baseball, he broke a written rule of sports and of people dedicated to being the best.
Reyes would have won the batting title regardless with Ryan Braun throwing down an 0-5 night, but when he took himself out of the game after his bunt single, Reyes showed how concerned he was and how focused he was on personal success. The Mets weren’t playing for anything. Their game was over well before the drama and intrigue of Wednesday night’s masterpieces. Yet the fans came to the park to see Reyes and possibly bid him farewell.
In looking for a huge offseason contract, Reyes may very well leave the Mets. And if he does, the city of New York will have one final memory; Reyes walking off the field after a first inning single at his own request. I’m not going to make the Ted Williams comparisons. That’s been done enough. I’ll simply say that true competitors want to be on the field until the final the out of the season.
Jose Reyes has always seemed like a likable guy. He’s always seemed to play hard. He may be injury-prone, but he always tried. Now, I question his commitment. I question his focus. The Mets could have said “no, you’re playing,” but ultimately, Reyes had to make this decision, and he made the wrong one.