There has been so much talk about the latest influx of young talent that has joined a surging New York Mets team. Some say it started with Matt Harvey and his bigger than life persona. His arm and attitude brought a different vibe to a franchise desperate to remind New York they exist. However, this did not start with Harvey. Sure, he brought a different type of attitude, but the party started with two other young kids years before the Dark Knight made an appearance.
The resurgence of youth in Flushing started with two best friends from the minor leagues. They rose to stardom together. They came up through the rankings and joined a flailing organization. When their arrival was announced, fans were excited. They heard what these kids were doing in the minors.
The original Dynamic Duo: David Wright and Jose Reyes instantly became the faces of an organization that needed new life. The New York Mets needed youth to revitalize them. They got more than they bargained for with these two.
Jose Reyes came up first in 2003 and David Wright in 2004, each playing in 69 games and displaying some power with their bats. They played together. The fans became enamored with the duo. They brought the fans to the ballpark with their winning smiles, captivating personalities and incredible plays. Soon speed and power became their trademarks.
But the dynamic duo would soon be no more.
After the 2011 season, Reyes left to Miami. It seems he would never find a home. He was then traded to Toronto followed by Colorado. Then he faced his biggest challenge: huge backlash by everyone for allegedly assaulting his wife.
Wright has dealt with his own issues. The past two seasons he has been unable to stay off the 60-day disabled list due to back and neck injuries. He would play the role of captain off the field.
Two players. Two fan favorites. One looking for healing. The other looking for a second chance at life in the majors.
Reyes arrived in Flushing seeking another chance. For him, he was home. No matter where he went, he would never find what he had in Queens among the Flushing faithful and his best friend. He recognized the error of his ways, asked for forgiveness and just asked to be judged on his play. Say what you will, but his play has surpassed what many expected from him.
With the way the season has turned around, you could vote him co-captain. After all, he has taken over the Captain’s position at third base. The same way his smile and spirit brought new energy to a franchise in desperate need back in 2003, he has done the same for a team decimated by injuries.
Reyes promised he would do everything he could to help win games. Since rejoining the team he never wanted to leave, Reyes has shown how to win games with more than just his speed. He has shown he never forgot what it means to play in New York. You play hard. You give it your all. You don’t stop. You make it fun.
How would Reyes describe this? After the game he told reporters:
“Just to be in this kind of situation, I can’t explain it, man. I’m just happy to be part of this ball club. Happy to be part of the run for the playoffs. As a player, that’s what you’re looking for.”
While others questioned his ability to play, Reyes never has. The one thing he knew he could do was play baseball. His talent was never in doubt. All he needed was a chance. General manager Sandy Alderson gave him that chance and the general manager has been handsomely rewarded for his faith.
Reyes has been able to hit the occasional home run for a total of six on the year in the 40 games he has played. He has a .287/.341/.432 slash line. I understand the doubts, but it seems many forgot he did win the batting title his last year as a New York Met.
Manager Terry Collins says he expected Reyes to get on base and score runs. But in terms of getting the big hits, the manager says:
“He’s gotten huge hits. Big hits.”
“No question, there’s still a lot of baseball left in that guy.”
The infielder has been everything you want in a player. He has brought the fun back into the game. The party to the dugout, the locker room and even the field. The family has come together in a new way and Reyes has helped unite them. He helped to unite his family.
Unity. Family. It’s what this team has become to each other. Nobody is down on anybody. The message has been made loud and clear that every player is there to pitch in to pick one up when another has fallen down.
Yes, this seems like a new team and that’s because it is. Looking at the roster you see that. But even with players who started on the opening day roster and have still managed to stick around, it seems like a new team. Injuries have no longer stopped this team from winning games. Confidence has filled that void. Smiles have filled that void. Energy has filled that void.
Reyes has helped to repair a team trying to heal. All it took was a second chance, confidence, a winning smile and some good old fashioned baseball.