I must admit I somehow missed the original prohibition on Reyes-fun, but reading this made me realize just how grave the situation was:
Carlos Beltrán had seen enough. So in a quiet moment Tuesday afternoon, he pulled a chair beside Jose Reyes's locker and offered some unsolicited advice. Recalling their conversation Wednesday night after the Mets' 5-2 victory against the Washington Nationals, Beltrán said he told him: “I want you to be the Reyes you’ve always been. Forget what people say, what they write about you, what people think. Just be you.”
By the way, read that paragraph again. Dude, I know you write for the New York Times, but you can't write every story like it's Middle East diplomacy. In a quiet moment, my ass.
If there were any doubt that Reyes listened, it was erased in the fifth inning when he sprinted from the opposite end of the dugout to be the first one to greet Beltrán, whose three-run homer put the Mets ahead to stay. Reyes met Beltrán at the top step with a semi-elaborate handshake. The self-imposed restraint was gone, replaced by the unbridled joy that the Mets have rarely seen through the early weeks of the season.
Reyes said in spring training that he would tone down his celebratory antics and choreographed handshakes, but since returning from a strained left hamstring he has played his last two games as if he is unencumbered by perceptions of what is right or wrong. A night after notching four hits, Reyes added two more, including a game-tying homer in the fifth, and he could not have been happier about it.
“That’s what brought me here to the big leagues — jumping, smiling, laughing in the dugout,” Reyes said. “That’s me.”
The real benefit of allowing Reyes to have fun is that it will distract attention from their starting lineup, which tonight included Angel Pagan in CF, Brady Clark in LF, and Raul Casanova at C.
So, can someone remind me why Reyes was previously not having fun?
Reyes irked some teams last season with his exuberant celebrations, his congratulating teammates with his helmet off and a complex series of hand-slaps and hugs. He vowed to curb those celebrations. His reasoning? He did not want to divert attention from what he hoped would be a bounce-back season.
The way the Mets ended the season, with a historic collapse in September, aided and abetted by Reyes abysmal .205/.279/.333 line, I can understand coming into 2008 all business.
But why is the focus on the fact that he "irked" other teams with his "exuberance"? Are there really other professional baseball players sitting in the opposite dugout stewing over the exuberance of Jose Reyes?
EXT. SHOT: FLORIDA MARLINS' DUGOUT -- NIGHT
In a quiet moment between innings, Marlins' players gather on the bench to converse and share notes over just how much they hate Jose Reyes.
Dan Uggla: "Man, I hate me some Jose Reyes. Big time."
Hanley Ramirez: "I hate him so much. He is very irksome."
Josh Willingham: "It's his exuberance I find so offensive."
Jeremy Hermida: "I think I tweaked my hammy just sitting here."
"Did you see what Reyes is doing over there? What a dick."
It's worth noting that in the 3 games since Beltran granted Reyes permission to enjoy himself, he's gone 8 for 14 with 5 singles, 1 double, 1 triple and 1 homer.
Go forth, young man, and irk.