While the Mets embark upon a future that may not include all-star shortstop and fan favorite Jose Reyes, I can’t help but notice how oddly familiar this all seems.
The drama of potentially losing the face of the franchise and the intense media build-up leading up to his final moments, is something that many of us old-timers have seen before. I know that most of you reading this were not even born yet on June 15, 1977, but you may soon feel what it was like when another Mets general manager made the erroneous decision to plunge the Mets into a bleak uncertainty and to move on without their franchise player, Tom Seaver.
Those were dark days for the Mets, and like today, money had a lot to do with why it happened. In the days leading up to that fateful day the Mets found a PR person in Dick Young of the Daily News, to help chip away at that great Tom Seaver persona and try to tarnish his glistening image and even minimize some of his incredible achievements.
“Tom Seaver is after more money. He wants to break his contract with the Mets. “Renegotiate” is the pretty word he used for it in this time of pretty words.” – Dick Young, Daily News
The hope was that it would help facilitate Seaver’s departure by getting a small minority of the fans to sour on Tom Terrific. That never happened of course and M. Donald Grant became one of the most vilified and abhorred general managers in New York baseball history.
The NYC Morgue had more life than Shea Stadium in the years after that trade, and in fact many began referring to Shea as “Grant’s Tomb”. The mere mention of Grant’s name – even today – will draw a scowl from anyone old enough to remember him.
Are we seeing this played out in all it’s grandeur again today?
Like Seaver, Reyes has shattered well over a dozen franchise records since coming up from the Mets minor leagues and becoming one of the most exciting players in the game and the premier leadoff man in baseball.
Reyes has become the face of the Mets franchise and even today is considered by most to be an essential part of the Mets offense and their top core player.
Sandy Alderson is treading on some dangerous terrain right now. He must navigate through some choppy waters. Depending on how he handles these negotiations with Reyes, he could invoke the ire of an entire fanbase and plunge this franchise back into that same black abyss of the late seventies.
Even the great one, Tom Seaver himself, shared his thoughts on Reyes not to long ago. ”Unless you have a game plan to go in a different direction, you can’t get rid of him. He’s too good,” Seaver said. ”Reyes is a player you build around. If the Mets don’t re-sign Reyes, what are you going to replace him with?”
Remember the saying “As Jose Reyes goes, so goes the Mets?” It was intended to remind everyone of just how valuable Reyes was to this line-up and to this team as a whole.
I’m curious to know, and please I’m speaking only to those who were actually around back then, doesn’t all of this seem vaguely familiar?
This Fan Shot was submitted by John Volpe. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over eleven-thousand Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com.