Since August 26, we’ve recapped RIP, TKO and BOGO here at BP Mets. I’m pretty sure FML is the next acronym in the sequence. (It was either that or GIGO.) The Mets’ week started with the unpleasant news that David Wright couldn’t play one rehab game without suffering so much pain that he had to shut it down. Yoenis Cespedes’s hamstring injury was indeed fatal to his 2017 season. And if it’s a cliche to suggest that insult’s been added to injury, I bring you Jose Reyes, left fielder and leadoff hitter.
Ron Darling and Wayne Randazzo took the opportunity provided by Reyes’ first MLB start as an outfielder to play a prerecorded interview in which Terry Collins praised Reyes’s versatility. Collins claimed Reyes could adjust to the new position because of his purported athleticism. As if the 34-year-old Reyes has somehow become more agile in 2017 than he was when he started his MLB career 15 years ago.
When Billy Hamilton hit a second-inning line drive to left and Reyes took a negative-3% efficient, Family Circus route to the eventual double, Darling studiously ignored the evidence of Reyes being bad at baseball. Instead, he began complimenting Reyes, favorably comparing him to Tony Phillips, a Darling contemporary who remained in the big leagues until age 40 while playing every position except pitcher and catcher. Phillips posted a .392 OBP from age 31 to 40, so he’d be a best-case, unlikely scenario for the rest of Reyes’ career. Yet that’s not why the comparison struck a nerve.
I don’t require perfection from my Mets broadcasters, and goodness knows the #GKR booth is regularly entertaining. Still, I couldn’t help but cringe at the Reyes-Phillips comp. Maybe Ron was unaware, or maybe he forgot, but Phillips was arrested in 1997 during his age-38 season for felony possession of crack cocaine. Mets’ broadcasters’ blind spot toward Reyes’s own arrest on domestic violence charges has drawn its share of criticism. A careless link between a player who pled guilty to a drug offense and one who avoided charges because his wife declined to prosecute should not be lightly excused.
Ah, there was a baseball game during all this. Chris Flexen allowed five runs in the first inning, four of them on a Scott Schebler grand slam that followed a single and two walks. The Reds added two in the fifth and another seven in the eighth. It got so bad for Chasen Bradford that nominal catcher Kevin Plawecki was brought in to relieve him with the bases loaded and no outs. Plawecki sandwiched a Billy Hamilton double between a GIDP and retiring Joey Votto on a 4-3 groundout. Consider it a moral victory in an otherwise pathetic 14-4 defeat.
Photo Credit: David Kohl – USA Today Sports
4 comments on “Game Recap August 29: FML”
More hyperbole from BP Mets inclined to over dramatize and exaggerate in self-righteous indignation.
Darling did not compare Reyes with Phillips. He merely mentioned Phillips as terrific super utility player who played each position rather well, This stood out for Darling having noticed that few super utility players master more than one or two positions.
His discussion of Reyes was in future value should he play the outfield well enough to be a be Zobrist type. This could extend Reyes’s career which is what Darling was discussing when he raised the topic.
As for Reyes off field, he has worked hard to be a better human being. He’s gotten a second chance. I don’t have problem with that.
Baseball Prospectus is gong down the toilet with these opinion-driven hyperbole articles that deliberately ratchet up the drama, making the authors look like attention seekers.
As you say, Darling discussed Reyes as a potential super-utility type if he can learn the outfield, not unlike Ben Zobrist or … Tony Phillips. If that’s not a comparison, I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile, I’m genuinely intrigued by your comment about Reyes off the field. Do you have inside knowledge about how “he has worked hard to be a better human being?” Perhaps your inside knowledge is why you’re willing to give Reyes a second chance. The Columbia Journalism Review recently studied sportswriters’ struggles when writing about domestic violence. Have you considered the benefit of expressing a (non-hyperbolic) opinion that does *not* give the benefit of the doubt to the guy arrested for allegedly grabbing his wife by the throat and slamming her into a sliding glass door?
Ron Darling’s discussion about Reyes potentially being super utility option – and then referring to Zobrist and Phillips as examples, does not in any way compare Reyes with either in competency. Darling was referring to a path, not skill comparison.
Seems to me, however, your writing was bait and switch to drum up drama, misrepresenting Darling’s comments. I doubt your journalistic studies taught you to misrepresent what occurred, nor chide Ron Darling for focusing on baseball competency, not off field transgressions which was your personal focus you let leak into what you wrote. For 11 years now, Ron Darling sits right next to a former cocaine user who initially got suspended for the 1986 season – Keith Hernandez. Should Darling never refer to Keith’s on field performance?
As for Reyes, I do not condone domestic violence or any other.
However, he got second chance from Mets, MLB, his teammates – and most importantly from his wife and family.
That second chance came with consequences and pre-conditions, including 52 game suspension, continued mental health counseling, and working hard to be a better father, husband and human being. His return to pro ball and the Mets came with public humiliation, contrition, a more humbled person who is now in position to urge others never to do what he did. And so yes, good can arise from bad, and sometimes the best teachers are those who’ve made mistakes and commit to a better path.
However, if he ever lays his hand again on his wife or any other for any reason but self defense if physically attacked, he deserves prison, divorce, loss of custody and loss of his big league career.