Plain and simple, Jose’ Reyes has to grow up. He has to realize that he is one of two cornerstones for the Mets, and no longer a new-born colt prancing by his mother’s side. He needs to lead the Mets to the next level, not drag them into the abyss.
Reyes will be 26 in June. Great leaders are ones that lead by example. His propensity to commit bonehead plays disqualifies him. When you try and advance to third base on a ball hit to the shortstops’ right, that’s an egregious error. (not sliding to evade the tag compounded the gaffe).
Yesterday, he was guilty as charged in overtime verses the hated Braves (who managed to take the series, and should have swept them, if the Mets did not break their mind-boggling 0-13 streak when trailing after the eighth inning).
Moreover, Reyes sometimes runs the bases like an out of control Little Leaguer.
Case in point: Trying to stretch a double into a triple, and committing a cardinal sin-making the first or last out of an inning at third base (Game two). He just seems to have his head in the wrong part of his anatomy half the time.
Leaders think on the baseball diamond, they don’t simply react. It’s unfortunate that a player that banged out three doubles in one game still gets cross-examined, but that’s Reyes’ fault. His bad seems to supersede his good. Yesterday, he almost reached the seats to give the Mets their second significant comeback in the same game.
Considering the vast dimensions of his new home, he went into his home-run trot and remained in low gear. Suffice to say, he would have been foolish to try and attempt to reach third with the meat of the lineup coming up (Manuel sacrificing an out with only three in the bank is another sad story). However, Mets fans who use that rationale are missing the point:
The moment you start assuming on the bases, or on the field, you lose. Reyes did not bust it out of the box and never did what he does best-create havoc on the base paths. He let the Braves defense rest. He didn’t round second with conviction and force a throw. Then who knows what might have transpired (a missed cutoff, and an advance that negates the ensuing sacrifice).
Baseball was meant to be played a certain way. And, not only when the player is in the mood.
Reyes will never lead his team until he realizes that you have to be accountable every second you step between the white lines.