Unless you were living under a rock or otherwise incapacitated, it was impossible not to hear about Jose Reyes’ return to Flushing with his last-place Miami Marlins. After an eventful offseason by the Marlins, headlined by the 6-year, $106 million deal that got Reyes in one of those God-awful Miami uniforms, the former Met came back to where it all began these past few days. It was a welcomed trip down memory lane for the 28-year old speedster, but not quite as well received by the fans, who overwhelmingly booed the 9-year Mets veteran during his three day visit.
Reyes went 1-for-12 during the series and he was possibly a bit anxious to face his old teammates and a crowd that once adored him again.
It was quite clear that Reyes was still his old self when I watched him before the game when the teams were practicing and doing warm-ups. I saw him joking around with his new teammates Emilio Bonafacio, Ozzie Guillen and several others just as he always did when he was with the Mets.
I decided that I would ask several Mets players what it was like to see Reyes on the other side of the field with the visiting team and to give me their two cents on Reyes in general:
“It was great. We all loved Jose when he was here, he’s a great guy and a great teammate and meant so much for the city, I was kind of surprised by the reaction of the fans after all he has done for the city of New York, but we all loved being able to play against him.” – Scott Hairston
“Jose’s great, we all love him, but he’s on the other team now and we want to beat him.” – Mike Nickeas
“Baseball is a game of competition, everytime you put on your uniform and cross those white lines it’s time to go to battle. Jose Reyes is a great person and a great player and you have to play your best to beat the best.” – Robert Carson
Mike Baxter, a New York native, gave his opinion of the crowd’s response to Reyes’ return:
“We didn’t know what to expect. They came out and let him know their feelings, and Jose is a great guy and a great teammate, I loved playing with him, but the fans have a right to do what they want to do. I love playing in New York, but if you do well the fans will cheer and if you screw up, they’re going to let you know.” – Mike Baxter
Reyes did not deserve the treatment he got from many of the fans this week. He was an exciting player to watch and one of the best offensive talents this franchise has ever developed. He loved playing in New York and was an exceptional shortstop who gave this team all he had ever since he was scouted and signed at 16. Not to mention the fact that it was impossible for Reyes to return to the Mets when they never even offered him a contract.
Anyway… It was nice to see his face back at Citi Field and you could tell his former Met teammates were happy to see him too. Reyes was well-loved and still is by all those he once played with, even if the same can’t be said about many of the fans he once played for. Best of luck to him in the future, he at least deserves out best wishes.