Jason Bay shared a funny story of when he served as Jose Reyes’ chauffeur and tour guide when they were minor-league teammates before Bay was traded to San Diego in 2002:
“We were in Port St. Lucie together. Jose was like 18, and I was about 23. He didn’t speak one word of English, and I didn’t speak one word of Spanish. We both got moved up to Double-A at the same time in Binghamton, staying at a hotel, and I remember our manager or somebody grabbing me and saying ‘Hey, can you make sure Jose gets to and from the ballpark everyday?’
“So I would knock on his door and say ‘Are you ready?’ And he would go, ‘Yep, yep, yep.’ We’d walk to the ballpark and not say one word, because we couldn’t. We’d play the game and shower and I’d say ‘Are you ready?’ And he’d say, ‘Yep, yep, yep.’ And we’d walk back without a word. Day in and day out, we would do that.”
“To this day, every time I’ve played against him, he gives me that big smile and a big hug. I remember when (Boston) played those exhibition games here last year before the season, I talked to him and said, ‘Man, your English has gotten a lot better.’ And he said ‘Yep, yep, yep.”
When the Mets got Jason Bay, they got more than just a leftfielder, they got a much needed presence in the clubhouse that hasn’t been tainted by the stigma of the last few years. He talked about what he believes is undeserved trashing by so-called experts, the media and even fans alike,
“I couldn’t really understand where all the animosity was coming from,” he said. “If you look at the team player to player . . . that’s a pretty good team, and I think I offered a fresh perspective coming in as an outsider. I don’t really get it.”
I know about half of you don’t believe in things like team chemistry, but I certainly do. I believe that a full season of Jeff Francoeur, coupled with the additions of Jason Bay, Frank Catalonotto, Mike Jacobs and Kelvim Escobar, transforms the dynamic in a clubhouse that hasn’t changed much over the last few years. All those new faces plus the intensity and clubhouse presence of a Johan Santana can have a positive effect on this team that could possibly lead to finding new ways to win ball games as opposed to finding new ways to lose them.