Jose Reyes Does What Baseball Players Do Sometimes…Especially Late In The Season

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Players have pulled themselves out of games in the interests of individual pursuits forever.

They’ve adjusted their competitiveness to be part of history.

They’ve been placed in different parts of the lineup.

They’ve bunted.

They’ve swung at pitches that were clearly out of the strike zone to get extra swings to achieve goals.

They’ve gone for doubles and triples to complete cycles.

They’ve done it all.

Baseball is an individual sport within a team concept.

There are 162 games in a baseball season and rules as to how many innings and plate appearances are necessary for players to be eligible for ERA and batting titles.

Do you really believe that as the season winds down that players are concerned—first and foremost—with winning?

No. They want to pad their stats and they do it intentionally.

Today Jose Reyes of the Mets went up to the plate leading the National League in batting over the Brewers Ryan Braun. (I’m not looking up the percentage points because, truth be told, I couldn’t care less about the batting title); Reyes had told Mets manager Terry Collins beforehand that if he got a hit, he wanted to come out of the game.

Then he bunted for a hit.

Then Collins took him out of the game.

Collins and Reyes admitted as such after-the-fact, in a matter-of-fact fashion.

Before this information was revealed, two of the most absurd places for the dissemination of fact on this or any other planet in the universe—Twitter and Michael Kay—went on abusive rants against the Mets as if they were the one perpetrating this act on an unsuspecting public waiting for aboveboard and fair victors in the all-important batting race.

Naturally, no one retracted their statements when the truth came out.

It was still the fault of the Mets somehow even if it wasn’t.

Never mind that Bernie Williams won a batting title in 1998 after starting the day tied with Mo Vaughn of the Red Sox and when Williams went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice fly, he was pulled.

Never mind that players like Bill Madlock won batting titles after taking themselves out of games to achieve that end.

Pete Rose bunted for a hit to win the batting title over Roberto Clemente.

Denny McLain threw a room service meatball to Mickey Mantle for Mantle to hit his 535th career homer because McLain wanted to be part of history; in fact, he asked Mantle where he wanted the pitch and Mantle obliged by telling him.

The St. Louis Browns let Napoleon Lajoie bunt to his heart’s content in an attempt to take the batting title away from the reviled Ty Cobb.

Reyes played in 126 games this season; George Brett played in 117 in the year he hit .390 and nearly hit .400.

Does the fact that Reyes pulled himself from a game to try and win the title and was injured with hamstring problems twice in 2011 “ruin” a title that few really pay attention to anymore? Does the fact that Brett was oft-injured as well somehow equate into the batting title needing to be put in a negative frame of reference in terms of competition?

When Roger Maris was chasing Babe Ruth‘s home run record, it was decreed that there would be two separate records, one for the 154 game schedule and the other for the 162 game schedule. Incredulous, Maris asked something to the tune of, “Which 154? The first 154? The last? The middle?”

The batting title is a resume builder; it’s an award; and it’s relatively meaningless.

This reaction is based on Mets hatred and the attempt to cast a negative light on a baseball player like Jose Reyes who looked to increase his own status with an “award”.

If you don’t know this or can’t handle it, you shouldn’t be talking about it in such a judgmental, holier-than-thou way.

They’re baseball players.

This is what they do.

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17 thoughts on “Jose Reyes Does What Baseball Players Do Sometimes…Especially Late In The Season

  1. Part of the distaste is that people find it hard to like Jose Reyes as a person. He comes across as all about himself and nothing else.

    KUDOS for the Nap Lajoie reference! I never get enough of those!!!!

    1. Like I said, I couldn’t care less about the batting title and the game was meaningless; the Mets-bashing was canned as if those who partook were waiting for it and started ganging up with that mentality of joining in. The Mets will make an offer of about $100 million or so and he’ll either stay or he won’t; if he doesn’t, move on.

  2. Excellent post. The batting title is not a one-day race. Reyes put himself in such a position over the course of the entire season that one hit in Game 162 would win it. When he took himself out of the game, there was no guarantee Braun would not overtake him; it was a gamble, and it worked. Had Reyes stayed in the game and ended up 1-for-5, he still would have finished ahead of Braun he went 0-for-4 last night.

    The NY media has been ripping Jose for years anyway. Of course, these are the same geniuses who criticized the Mets for not signing John Lackey and Ben Sheets…

    1. If anyone listens to the media in how they behave or run their club, they’re going to get pretty much what they deserve. That’s the thing I do like about Sandy Alderson: he doesn’t care what the media says about what he does. He just does it. He might have an agenda, but it’s his agenda.

  3. Bernie Williams was pulled from that game as he waited in the on deck circle for his 4th at-bat in that game.
    The reason he was pulled was that Mo Vaughn, who is was in the batting race with, had left his game in Boston after his 4th at bat and conceded.

    Williams and Vaughn went mano-a-mano for the batting title and Williams prevailed.
    In other words,when Williams left the game… the batting title race was over.

    That, in fact, is 100% the opposite of what Jose Reyes did.

    There are other examples you can use to support Jose Reyes’ decision..
    Bernie Williams is not one of them.

    1. The point is this: people like Michael Kay took this as an opportunity to bash the Mets when there was little reason to do so. If you’d like to criticize Reyes for this as if it’s the first time it’s ever occurred, then have some basis and historical perspective to make the claim; it was a cause celebre and nothing more. It was a selfish move on Reyes’s part and something that other players—including Yankees—have done repeatedly. To bash the organization for acquiescing to Reyes’s wishes was more agenda-laden nonsense from those who have a stake in ripping, ripping, ripping their supposed “enemies”, masquerading it as analysis and promulgating the myth of the Yankees always doing the “right” thing.
      It’s akin to the back-and-forth about Billy Wagner using the same theme song as Mariano Rivera.
      Who cares?

  4. You bash Michael Kay and others for lacking historical perspective..yet I just pointed out to you that you either deliberately or mistakenly dragged Bernie Williams into your article as a justification for what Reyes did..

    I don’t care what Reyes did..he won the batting title over the course of a year, not a day.
    and I agree that others have done what Reyes did..but Bernie Williams was not one of them.

    To be historically accurate as you demand of others, I look forward to you amending your article.

    1. You presume much and present your case in a demanding and accusatory way, which isn’t going to get you very far with me.
      I’m not amending anything. I was unaware of the exact circumstances of the Williams-Vaughn race, but I mentioned it in one sentence in the piece along with other cases such as Bill Madlock; Pete Rose; and Napoleon Lajoie. It wasn’t a long rant as was presented by Kay and others in a reactionary and attention-starved way with ancillary goals in mind such as to tear into the Mets.
      And I bash Kay not for any one nitpicky, capricious reason; I bash him because he’s an abusive and ignorant fool portraying himself as a baseball expert when he’s a Yankees fan and apologist masquerading as something other.
      The whole concept of “mano-a-mano” as you put it is ludicrous; they weren’t facing one another in competition, they were competing for a relatively meaningless award in totally meaningless games, just as was the case with Reyes and Braun. The batting title means nothing to me, so by extension nor does a player manipulating a situation to win the award; it’s not anything to get into a twist over unless you have a stake in it for whatever reason, which you clearly do. Williams, Madlock and the other context-providing examples were cases to say, “look, it’s happened before and it’s not a big deal”; not an indictment of Bernie Williams.

  5. Whether you think the batting title is insignificant is not at issue.
    You are writing about people who do/did think it was significant…and their actions in its pursuit.

    I don’t care about Michael Kay and your perceptions of him..you have a right to your opinion.

    But what you said about Bernie Williams was not stated as your opinion, but as a fact.
    And you were clearly wrong.

    And when you make an allegation about someone that is proven to be false why is so hard to amend ??

    Is it because its a Yankee ??..
    If it is, that seems quite juvenile.

    You were wrong..not so hard to admit.

    A good journalist would..Happens all the time.
    I guess my expectations for a blogger are too high.

    ‘Tis a shame.

    1. And the citation for your version of the Bernie Williams-Mo Vaughn series of events you present is where? Do you have any articles, links, anything to prove what you say is accurate?
      The partisan politics crack is a cheap shot considering I mentioned players from other teams as examples and nothing else.
      If I wanted to take shots at the Yankees, I’d have linked this Deadspin comparison of what Reyes did and what Derek Jeter did in 2008, but I didn’t. Because it’s not an issue I have interest in pursuing.
      As for your expectations, somehow I’ll manage to go on without living up to them. Hopefully I’ll survive.

    2. And I just checked. You’re wrong. Vaughn was removed after Joe Torre pulled Williams from the game once it was determined the Red Sox would have to go into extra innings for Vaughn to have any chance of catching Williams. The following clip is from this NY Times piece by Buster Olney:

      Vaughn homered in his second at-bat, singled in his third at-bat and made an out his fourth time up, leaving his average at .3366; it was determined that Vaughn would have to play into extra innings to catch Williams, who had two singles and a sacrifice fly. ”I really made a great effort to try to not let it bother me,” Williams said.

      All of this information was relayed to Joe Torre, the Yankees’ manager, who then decided to remove Williams in the bottom of the sixth inning. Once the Yankees made their move, Vaughn was taken out of the Red Sox lineup, a concession.

      I have something known as a citation which, I’d say, is pretty good for a lowly blogger. Well, at least better than you.

  6. 1) Here’s your citation….
    http://articles.nydailynews.com/1998-09-28/sports/18088447_1_yankees-devil-rays-pants

    “With Chad Curtis batting and Williams in the on-deck circle in the seventh, PR director Rick Cerrone phoned down from the press box to the dugout to inform Joe Torre that Vaughn had been removed from Boston’s game after going 2-for-4 and with his average at .337.
    With Williams at .339 after rapping two hard singles in two official trips, Torre called him back to the dugout and pinch hit Ricky Ledee.”

    2) I watched the game on TV and what was described in that article was exactly what was stated during the broadcast.

    3) I am a family friend of Bernie Williams and have spent much time with him over the years. Just this past Saturday, I was with him in Ridgefield, CT for an afternoon charity softball game and an evening concert at the Ridgefield Playhouse.
    He has told me the facts as I related them to you..and reiterated them to me this past Saturday because he had heard of so many writers (you are not alone) lazily accused him of doing what Reyes did.
    For your own reasons, you may choose to disbelieve him.

    4)Bernie Williams walked off the field saying he was a batting champion..Jose Reyes walked the field saying a prayer he would be one.
    Completely different…to anyone without preconceived notions.

    1. I am not disbelieving anyone.
      I don’t have preconceived notions and don’t care either way.
      This whole bit is somewhat silly.
      So I’m lazy because I didn’t research into the backstory when I checked Baseball-Reference for other cases of this happening? And if I had and found the Olney story in the Times, would I then still be classified as lazy because I didn’t use the Daily News and didn’t play softball with Williams? Because I wasn’t his friend?
      No one—mainstream, blogger or whatever—puts the work in that I do to make sure the stuff I say is accurate and provides links to the sources; for you to imply anything otherwise because you just now decided to disclose (after I dunno how many comments) that you do have a personal interest in the “truth” coming out is slick and opaque. In fact, it’s offensive that you chose to attack me while withholding your personal stake in this. If you’d said that at the beginning, you’d have a better case to make accusations of “laziness”.
      If you’d come to me and said, “look, this is what happened” and provided full disclosure, I’d be more than willing to publish a posting straightening the situation out. Instead, you chose another route. I might still publish something to “absolve” Williams, buy you chose the wrong road with me when the straight shot is much more effective.

  7. You made a flat out statement in your article comparing Reyes and Bernie Williams actions…you posted no link in it.
    My initial reply simply pointed at the inaccuracy of that.
    I stated that you can quite rightly can use other cases to justify Reyes..just not Williams.
    The fact that I know him or not is irrelevant to the truth..if you posted such a thing about one of Rod Carew’s batting titles that was untrue, I would have stated it with equal fervor.

    Through your oh-so-clever use of ” “, you, are still are trying to defend Reyes at the expense of Williams. Sad.

    In the end, your initial premise is still wrong.

    But Bernie Williams is one of the classiest people around..I’m sure he is patiently waiting to be “absolved” by you.

    1. A flat out statement consisting of one sentence.
      I’m not defending Jose Reyes. All I was saying was that it’s not something that deserved the vitriolic reaction it received; a large portion of that reaction stemmed from the prevalent use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media to express an immediate reaction and from fools with a forum like Michael Kay and Mike Francesa. These things were not available when Williams won his batting title; in fact, few probably would’ve paid attention to it then.
      You’re being arrogant, snide and obnoxious and that’s not going to get you anywhere with anyone. Especially me. You want to get your truth out there, you’ve just done a smooth job in alienating someone who would’ve been perfectly willing to publish the story as you present it.
      Lotsa luck.

  8. it’s not MY truth..it’s THE truth…
    which for some reason you continue to fight.

    Oh well..Can’t wait for the Absolution.

    1. Again you choose, rather than to be polite and conciliatory, to grow more obnoxious.
      Here’s a suggestion, if you truly are a friend of Bernie Williams—which I have no way of knowing one way or the other; you presented one article and I presented another and you claim to have heard it from the man himself—why don’t you go see Bernie, suggest that he contact the Daily News, Michael Kay or whomever, and have him present his side of the story? Why do you need me to do it?
      Did you contact Anthony DiComo, who also wrote that Williams had done what Reyes did? Or are you saving all of this stuff for me? Or maybe you did, were just as pompous, condescending and downright rude and were ignored; this begs the question as to why I’m responding to you.
      This is my site. You want me to publish something, present proof other than “I’m Bernie’s friend” and ask me in the correct way. Otherwise, start your own blog about a subject that no one’s even paying attention to anymore and see how successful you are; until then, stop commenting here because it’s not going to be published.

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