Time For Junior To Grow Up

An article by posted on May 11, 2010

Those of you who know me and follow my writing know that I have a unique nickname for Jose Reyes.  It’s “Junior”.  “Why Junior?”, you ask?  His initials are JR, which is the abbreviation for junior.  And right now, it couldn’t be more appropriate.

Before everyone gets bent out of shape and calls for my head on a platter, let me stress one thing — I love Jose Reyes.  He is one of my all-time favorite Mets, and probably yours too.  And while you didn’t hear a peep out of me on David Wright getting tossed from Sunday’s game, allow me to explain why Reyes’s ejection last night is different.

To start, David Wright reacted — right or wrong, good timing or bad timing, whatever — and was tossed immediately.  If you recall a few weeks back, Wright also barked at the home plate umpire for a strike call, and the ump clearly stated, “You wanna stay or you wanna go?”  Wright backed off and shut up.  Needless to say he went on to strike out.  But I digress.  Jose Reyes was given a warning when he slammed his bat down.  He continued to mouth off and then slam his helmet to the ground.  He knew what he was doing and the possible consequences and did it anyway.

The end result may have been the same, but in my opinion, Reyes’s ejection was worse than Wright’s.  I’m not talking about impact on the team.  This is the one time I actually would not put the team ahead of the individual.  Because the attitude of Reyes in his case impacts the team far more than the action of Wright in his case.  That’s right.  Attitude versus action.  Two completely different things.

David Wright could have left Jerry Manuel’s hands tied by having to bring in a pitcher to play the outfield or first base.  Bad enough.  But it most likely was an isolated incident. Can’t fault the guy for being human and having heart.  This, on the other hand, is a part of who Jose Reyes is.  And while we may like his fire and intensity while he’s doing something positive, we can dislike it just as much when he’s doing something negative.

Seems all to similar to one Rey Ordonez of years past.  Although Reyes may be more talented and spirited than Ordonez was, it still doesn’t change his need to grow up, listen and take constructive criticism from his coaching staff.  That’s a big part of why Ordonez didn’t make it as a Met.  I’d hate for that to happen to Junior.

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