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May 2017
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captainsblog [userpic]

Most other regulars on the Mets blogging circuit have thrown in their two cents on the Jose Reyes re-signing, so I'll throw mine in to the pot, as well. Besides the generally abhorrent nature of the domestic violence charge against him, I've seen, and respect, an opinion about his conduct in his final game as a Met in 2011- when he got a hit to clinch the NL batting title, immediately came out of the game, and did nothing to acknowledge his fans in that half-inning or thereafter.

That's the easier charge to address: unlike his later conduct, I think that, at that time, it was understandable if not defensible.  Reyes had been a Met throughout his development.  He'd been part of the young-star core of the team along with David Wright, coming to within an inning of reaching the 2006 World Series.  He'd survived the double tanks of the ensuing two seasons, the subsequent move to Ebbets Vault, and the slow termination of talent around him. By the end of the 2011 season, the Mets hadn't- and ultimately wouldn't- try to make even the most minimal effort to commit to him.  So I can understand his feelings as he rounded first and headed to an inevitable new home.

Two years later, after he'd realized the error of signing with perhaps the only owner in baseball worse than a Wilpon, I saw him here- playing on rehab for the Buffalo Bisons, the team now affiliated, as he was, with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Though he was now older, injured (hence the rehab) and had suffered yet another management betrayal, it was still the old Jose that I could see.  From my game recap of it at the time:

He almost beat out a routine grounder to first as the Bison leadoff hitter. Here he is, coming back to the dugout after that:

He then reached on an infield hit in the fourth (then Buffalo's first baserunner) and almost tried to stretch it to a double. He followed that by trying to steal second four times, all four being fouled off, before finally taking off on a hit-and-run that almost ended with him landing safely on third.  He ended the appearances I witnessed with a nasty comebacker to the pitcher that would have been a hit if it hadn't line-shotted right into the dude's glove.  When he went down in the ninth, I headed out....

and after the game the following night, so did he, back to The Show- but only after leaving his AAA teammates with a major-league spread in the clubhouse to thank them for helping with his rehab.

I next saw him in 2014, at an August Rockies game at Citi Field. He didn't show quite the spark against the Mets that he once had for them, but I wondered, in that still-almost-giddy stretch where 90 wins was the goal, whether he might find his way back to the Mets at some future point.

And now, he has- but only because of the horrific off-field events during last year's post-season.  You might wonder whether I could ever tolerate such a return, given how outspoken I've been about shunning, to the point of "Voldemort"-ing their names, any number of celebrities caught perpetuating assault against women.

The jury here is still deliberating. On the side of "dead to me" are two things:

* What he did; and

* Whatever he did, whether out of coercion or contrition, to get his wife to stop cooperating with the prosecution.

Supporting forgiveness, on the other hand, we have:

* He has expressed contrition, unlike those who Must Not Be Named, who deny charges of rape and even incest against them from victims with no motive for lying;

* He has served his time on the non-criminal sentence meted out by MLB for his actions; and

* Although he's mostly going to be paid in Rockiebucks with the Mets kicking in only the veteran minimum, he will always have to endure the stigma, and the watchful eyes of team and media and fans, reminding him that forgiving does not mean forgetting- and he will have to take what he is given in terms of a role, be it third base or outfield or pine rider- choices he would not have had to agree to had he come back to New York under better circumstances.

And so, I reach at least an initial verdict- a conditional one, at that.  I will not cut off my team in the fiftieth year of my fandom on account of what he did or what they have now done.  I will cheer any heads-up play he produces on the field or in the batter's box.  But I propose that the Mets stick with a simple and visible statement from his first day on the field that he is not, and will never be, the Jose Reyes we once loved:

No Number Seven.

Never mind that it's already taken by TDA.  Do not for a moment permit one of those clubhouse deals that enable switches regardless. It's probably best to turn to the expert on the subject, and that would be Mets By The Numbers, which has already thought of the same two things- one probably wrong and one ultimately right- that I did:

Back in 2003, when Reyes was a but a Met puppy, the Mets (idiotically, it turned out) signed the Japanese free agent Kaz Matsui to a contract. Matsui wore 7 in Japan and some bright people suggested then they creatively solve the issue by giving Matsui 77. They didn’t. Things would have been different, I tell you.

So I can see the Mets going that route, maybe. Perhaps, though, presenting Reyes with 77 (or even 07) is too larded with tender forethought to be appropriate for a guy coming off a wife-beating rap. I am coming around to the idea it would be best if Reyes gets a number that sends the message that the Mets aren’t doing Jose Reyes any favors beyond the opportunity to wear a uniform. Any uniform. Give him No. 46. It’ll all be a weird scene anyway.

Perfect. No single digit. No number worn by anyone remotely famed in our past or our future, to taint it if it ever comes up for retirement (since THAT happens so damn often:P)  If you could do it, send him out there as a Man Without a Number. I don't see a lot of merch sales no matter what he does.

And first time you get on base, Jose? Act like you've been here before and salute your fans. Because you