There is very little reason for anyone to be at Citi Field right now.
The New York Mets are currently 76-85 and 25 games out of first place. They are playing their last game of the year against the also-mediocre Cincinnati Reds. It’s a dreary and foggy day in New York. It’s the afternoon on a weekday. None of these things scream “let’s go to Queens to watch a baseball game.”
There is one reason to be at Citi Field, though. Well, actually, there was, because that reason just got taken out of the game after one at-bat.
Jose Reyes, the Mets’ most exciting player since 2003, entered today leading the National League in batting average over Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun by .001. This is also (probably) the last time Reyes will ever wear a Mets uniform; he’s entering the free agent market after this season and will be highly sought-after. It’s unlikely the Mets will have the money to bring him back.
But after one at-bat — a successful bunt that raised his batting average one point — Reyes was pulled out of the game. It happened quickly and unceremoniously, and the fans in attendance had no time to pay him a proper farewell.
Predictably, once they were able to figure out what was going on, they booed. SNY’s announcers, Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt, were also unhappy. (Hernandez let out the most depressing sigh ever before he read the Reds’ lineup, but he’s been with the organization for awhile so he’s probably used to this sort of thing.).
The punches to the gut continued. During the first commercial break after Reyes was pulled the team ran a commercial thanking fans for their support this season, which somehow made perfect sense.
Mets manager Terry Collins likely did this to help Reyes get his first batting title: Reyes’ abrupt 1-1 day pads his stats, and Braun now has to go 3-4 tonight to win title.
But still. What the hell, Mets? Reyes has been with the team since he was 16. Because he was on first base when he was taken out, and the move was so unexpected, the few fans who actually dragged themselves out to Flushing had no time to properly say goodbye. There was no tip of the cap, no standing ovation. It was, in a word, frustrating.
Come to think of it, that was probably the most fitting way for this to end.
Update: During an emotional press conference, Collins revealed that it was Reyes’ decision to opt out of the game, so Jose is partly to blame for this bungled situation (we’re not ready to absolve the Mets; they could’ve asked him to acknowledge the crowd a little more on his way to the dugout). His exit came out of nowhere and if this proves to be his last game as a Met, it was a crummy way to go.