Jose Reyes was never my favorite Mets player. In fact, he probably wouldn't find himself in my personal top five. However, as a fan who considers the triple to be the most exciting play in baseball, Reyes is without question the most exciting player I've ever seen strap on the blue and orange of the New York Mets.
Reyes made things happen, seemingly always putting immense pressure on the opposition. Stealing bases, stretching singles into doubles and scoring from first base on a single were just a few of his specialties. The speed responsible for such events constantly placed Reyes in discussions about the best players in all of baseball. And most importantly, he was a Met through and through, signing with the organization at only sixteen years of age.
We watched him grow up before our very eyes and then watched him excel on the game's biggest stage, in baseball's biggest market. But not every chapter of Reyes' story was rosy. As is always the case, what goes up inevitably comes back down, and all the talent and potential in the world couldn't stop his far too frequent trips to the disabled list. Yet even as his days in New York appeared to be numbered, the 2012 version of Jose Reyes led Mets fans on one final wild ride to the NL batting title.
Despite what appeared obvious to many, I remained optimistic the team would find a way to retain their all-star shortstop. Ultimately, it wasn't to be, but I can say with absolute honesty that I'm at peace with the fact that the Mets didn't temporarily lose their minds and top the six year, $106 million dollar deal Reyes got from the Miami Marlins. To this day, I remain convinced that it was a baseball decision by Sandy Alderson, rather than one driven by the club's unstable finances at that time.
And now as Reyes returns to Citi Field for the first time with his Marlins in tow, I find myself with surprisingly few emotions. Although he was great while he was here, his era was yet another in Mets' history without a World Series crown. While I wish him well and have fond memories of his time in Queens, Reyes now dons the crest of the opposition. So embrace him one final time when he steps to the plate for the first time today, and then remember what he's capable of, because he's no longer on your team. He is now and always will be from this day forward, the enemy.
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