Last week Danny Krieger posted a blog about Yankee pitcher A.J. Burnett and his habit of shaving cream pies after a big win, if you like you can read that post here.
Danny mentions how A.J. has brought fun back to the Bronx and how that fun translated into the Yankees winning season and perhaps winning a 27th World Series title. It got me thinking to the 2006 Mets. The 2006 team had a lot of fun while playing the game. They were always smiling, always joking with each other. Everyone remembers the handshakes that Jose Reyes would do whenever someone hit a homerun out of the park or the bubble gum hats we saw that year.
There was a lot of criticism towards the Mets, specifially the never ending smiling Jose Reyes. Opposing teams hated the handshakes and dancing in the dugouts. It made them want to beat us even more. Teams would hate to play us knowing that you couldn’t erase that smile off of Jose Reyes’ face. The opposing team knew whether Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David Wright and any other Met hit a homer in 2005 that there was going to be a fun handshake and celebration in the dugout. Reyes even had a different handshake and dance with every Met on the roster.
The press and the radio shows, especially that blowhard Mike Francesa seemed to always get on Reyes and the Mets for the celebrations. That seemed to be the start of the end of the fun in Flushing. We all know even if this year there were a lot of bad media moments the Mets front office don’t like any negative press about their players. They expect their players to be smiling, polite gentleman. There were reports going around that Willie Randolph told Jose Reyes to cut out the celebrations after the homers. Management was said to see the reactions to Reyes’ behavior and decided that the press was right, the Mets needed to be more like the Yankees, not smiling, not having fun, showing up and being businessmen.
If you look at 2007 the fun stopped. The fun disappeared long before the Mets collapsed that year. They were no longer smiling or easy going like they were in 2006. It looked like they wanted to have fun but were holding back and as 2007 was coming to an end that attitude took it’s toll.
2008 was no better. Carlos Beltran tried to get Reyes to have fun, telling him to be himself but the entire team was on edge having to answer questions about Willie Randolph’s job security plus the press reminding them everyday about 2007 collapse. They were even more on edge then the year before. Unfortunately the same result happened. The Mets failed to make the playoffs yet again on the last day of the regular season. No fun was had during the season and no fun would have fun in October of 2008 either.
2009 seemed to be a little different as far the Mets demeanor heading into Spring Training. While they were not dancing in the dugouts they looked like they were having fun again, trying to get passed the last 2 seasons. We all saw opening day the 24 different handshakes Johan Santana had with his teammates. The team looked to be having fun for the first few weeks until all the injuries took place. Gone was the fun, in came the dread of another bad season. We all know how 2009 ended up.
In conclusion teams that have fun seemed to win a little more. Obviously you need talent and the Mets do have talent. I hate to use the Phillies and Yankees as examples but both teams had fun playing the game this past season, they obviously have talented players and they are both in the World Series. It’s time to stop worrying about what writers and idiot radio guys like Francesa think, go and have fun. If Jose Reyes wants to celebrate with a handshake and groove a little with his teammates let him. Lets see the smiling Jose Reyes of 2006. 2006 was a great season for him and the Mets. Lets see David Wright take the pressure off himself to hit more homers and just have fun. The fans enjoyed watching the games and going to them in 2006. Part of the fun was not just seeing the Mets win but seeing them enjoy the game, seeing what new handshakes and dance moves they would come up with. 2006 the Mets had fun and just missed going to the World Series. In 2010 lets have some fun and get to the World Series!