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