There has been a lot of talk about Fernando Martinez and his share of “boos” Wednesday night at Citi Field, after failing to run out a pop up that was ultimately dropped. Fellow Mets fan, friend and colleague, Tanya Mercado of citifieldofdreams.com was at the game and said that Martinez heard it from the crowd all night.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not saying I am pleased with Fernando’s actions. Even Johan Santana knew to run hard on strike three in the dirt. But the same fans who had no unwillingness to boo Martinez better not be the same ones who didn’t boo Jose Reyes for similar actions. I don’t want to hear “Reyes is a superstar who has proven himself and we can let it slide.” That has nothing to do with it. Just like Martinez being 20 years old and making his Major League debut has nothing to do with his blunder. But either cut him some slack, as you did Reyes, or get on Reyes too. There are too many inconsistent Mets fans lingering about and they can’t have it both ways.
You can make the argument that Reyes was playing with a bad calf. But when he saw the ball was not going out, he put it in full gear, only it was too late. He should have been in full gear out of the box. You can also make the point that at least Reyes ran, while all Martinez did was stand there and even turn his back on the play. But the only reason Reyes ran was because he was breaking into his home run trot! No matter how you slice it, both were equally wrong and embarrassed themselves in front of 40,000 people.
Should Martinez have been benched after his lack of hustle Wednesday night? Gee, I don’t know … let’s see, was Reyes??? Jerry Manuel needs to put an end to behavior like this immediately. Martinez deserves some kind of wake-up call from the start. And he did apologize and said it will never happen again. But for fans to pick and choose who can get away with certain actions and who can’t, is as bad as Jerry Manuel putting Ramon Castro and Ryan Church in his invisible doghouse. Everyone needs to be treated equally. Of course, every fan will have their favorite players and also have players that they dislike, for whatever reason. But you can’t take exactly the same situation and treat it differently because one player is more popular than the other. It’s not a popularity contest. And by no means am I discounting Reyes. I love the guy and can’t wait for him to come back from the DL. But what made him exempt from the boos? Even on this site, everybody and their mother was defending him in the days after his then-labeled “boneheaded” play(s). I know that David Wright has also been booed this year for his many strikeouts. No one has defended that!
We preach teamwork and unity, but how do you expect a guy like Martinez to feel if he hears it from the crowd and maybe someone else who is just as deserving of it, does not? It’s the fastest way to cause resentment and friction among teammates. And I think fans, not just F-Mart, need that wake-up call. It’s not just Mets management; we need to do our part as fans to be fair and just and evenly supportive to our players as well. If we boo, we boo, but we boo everyone. And if we don’t, then we don’t, end of story …