With the 2018 season all but over for the Amazins thanks to a tremendous free-fall after what appeared to be an encouraging start, there’s not much to look forward to these days. Unless this kind of stuff excites you:
I'm so excited to watch 37-year-old Jose Bautista and 35-year-old Jose Reyes play tonight for the Mets in August with them 17 games under .500.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayerMMO) August 15, 2018
My guess is it doesn’t, and just about nobody would blame you. Especially when someone like Peter Alonso is tearing up Triple-A and seemingly not getting called to the big leagues any time soon. Although it’s just about inconceivable that Reyes is still on the roster based off his historically bad season at the plate, his presence allows the potential for a rare occurrence that used to be a part of every-day life — trotting out to shortstop one more time and flashing a quick smile over to the Captain at third base.
The on-field results haven’t been there for Wright through three rehab games with High-A St. Lucie — he’s 0-for-7 with two walks so far — but that doesn’t matter. After all, it’s been a year since he last played in a live game and over two years since suiting up in the big leagues. The important part is that he’s appeared in three games over a four-day span, with Wednesday’s appearance resulting in seven innings at his customary spot on the diamond.
Wright still has a long road ahead before actually playing at Citi Field again, but it might actually happen. If it does, there will be quite a bit of nostalgia seeing him and Reyes on the left side of the infield once again, which will make me happy. It’ll also make me sad, though.
The Happy Part
New York’s run to the 2000 World Series was a lot of fun, but it also led to some lean times immediately thereafter. They just barely finished with a record above .500 in 2001 and didn’t have much go right in 2002 after acquiring Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, and Jeromy Burnitz, which was followed by two more years of brutal play under Art Howe.
But the two brights spots in 2003 and 2004 were the MLB debuts for Reyes and Wright, respectively. Looking back at the Mets’ most recent build up toward contention, these two had a similar effect as guys like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler when they finally made it to the majors.
Although the team was still not very good, there were a couple really good reasons to watch — Reyes and Wright signaled brighter days could be on the horizon. And they were.
Whenever I think of these guys as an on-field duo, the first season that comes to mind is 2006. There hasn’t been much competition, but that was easily one of the most fun years I’ve ever had watching Mets baseball. The team was easy to root for, they never gave up, and it almost always seemed like one of their young, budding superstars was in the middle of a big rally.
The Sad Part
As much as the high school and college versions of me would love to see these two take the field one more time, it’ll also make me sad because of the missed opportunity. The Mets literally had two cornerstone-type talents in their prime — that mostly performed up to expectation — yet could only squeeze one measly playoff appearance out of it all.
That sucked, but we all know that.
Then Jose left via free agency, and everything’s gone downhill since then with regard to two of the franchise’s most influential players.
Wright sticking around to be a lifetime Met was a great day for this guy personally (I mean, my firstborn’s middle name is Wright), but it didn’t take long for the injury bug to start consistently biting him. And suddenly, a guy who once prided himself on playing every day has needed more than two calendar years to get back on a big-league field…with no guarantee of it even happening.
We also all know what happened to Reyes between his first and second stints with the organization, which always makes it hard to cheer any on-field success he experiences.
Do I want to see Wright and Reyes take the field one more time? Absolutely — mostly because Wright deserves to end his career the way he wants. If this actually does come to pass, it’ll make me happy to see something again that I looked forward to on a nightly basis during my late teens and early 20s.
However, it’ll also make me sad because not only will it be the last time, it’ll also be a reminder that those days are long gone, and the “What could’ve been” thoughts will be just as prevalent as the feelings of nostalgia.