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Must-click link: “We are alive and we get to enjoy Jose Reyes playing baseball”

Jun 16, 2011, 8:24 AM EST

Jose Reyes

It’s so easy, when you read and write a lot about baseball as opposed to merely watch it from time to time,  to get caught up in the business of baseball. The trade and free agency dynamics. The artificial or semi-artificial storylines that are created about what happens on and off the field. To think in terms of trend lines, streaks, marketability, clubhouse dynamics, rebuilding plans, contracts, statistics, playoff possibilities and all manner of things future and past that are not the game itself.

What gets discussed so little is the moment.  The moment when the batter makes the split decision to take that extra base. The moment when an outfielder breaks to his left because he ascertained its trajectory before anyone else in the park did. The moment when pitcher and catcher silently agreed that there is no way in hell that the batter can either expect or adjust to this particular pitch in this particular spot.

We see these moments as we watch the game and they give us a thrill. But there’s not much to say about them afterward other than “wow! did you see that?”  And because post-facto description and analysis tends to serve only to diminish the moment — no sports writer, however skilled he is, can write as beautifully as a ballplayer at the height of his powers can perform — those moments tend to recede in the 21 hours a day when the baseball game is not actually occurring.

Yesterday Ted Berg, using Jose Reyes as his example, made a powerful argument in favor of savoring these moments and allowing them to stand on their own without any of the buzz and chatter that surrounds them.  I’ll say no more about it, but I will implore you, if you have a few moments, to read it.

  1. woodenulykteneau - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    “no sports writer [sic], however skilled he is, can write as beautifully as a ballplayer at the height of his powers can perform”

    Crack a Roger Kahn book, Craig.

  2. cleverbob - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    Jose Reyes wants to get paid. I won’t knock him for that, but I will knock him for the drastic reduction in productivity and passion after he gets his contract.

    • scratchbomb - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      this piece (and Ted’s) is nothing about free agency. but thanks for making it about your magic powers of prognostication that already now how Jose Reyes will play post-contract.

      if you really can see into the future, tell me when you’re making your next unfounded, unconstructive comment so I can make sure to avoid it

      • cleverbob - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM

        Really, like we all can’t see it playing out that way? A talented player with some character issues in his past pulls it all together during a contract year, then lets himself fall back on old habits afterwards. Get your heads out of the sand.

      • cuseguy07 - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:25 AM

        @cleverbob

        “Character Issues”? Excuse me? When has Jose Reyes ever had character issues? Does he smile too much for you? Maybe it’s the handshakes. Handshakes are always true signs of character issues.

      • nps6724 - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        I hate the Mets. Hate, hate, hate them. Anything that makes them look bad makes me happy.

        With that said, what the hell has Jose Reyes done for someone to say he has character issues? Seriously.

      • cleverbob - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        So he never struggled with maturity? Never admitted to concentration lapses in the field? Never threw tantrums or showed up his teammates? Character issues don’t always equal being a bad person, but he’s going to want big time dollars, and you have to expect leadership and professionalism from the guys making that kind of change.

        All I’m saying is that he’s playing lights out right now, but I could see his play diminish after he signs.

      • hamispig - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:16 AM

        @cuseguy
        Can’t you tell the problem?
        He has dreadlocks. Any good player who has dreadlocks has to be a clubhouse cancer. Call it the Manny Effect.

        Note: I have actually had multiple people use his dreads as evidence that Jose Reyes has a bad personality.

      • nps6724 - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:59 AM

        Maturity issues are common with guys in their early 20s in general. Reyes made his debut one day before his 20th birthday. Expecting a 20-year old to act like a seasoned veteran is ridiculous.

        Concentration lapses have nothing to do with character. Good people, bad people, and everyone in between is capable of having concentration lapses.

        I remember reading an article about one of his “temper tantrums” a few years ago. He made an error, the last of a recent string of errors, and he fired his glove and sunglasses toward the dugout after the inning was over. His comment on it was essentially “I expect better play out of myself, I have to play better than that, I was upset at myself.” Personally, I like to see emotion like that. He takes his job performance seriously.

        He’s going to want top dollar, but he’s earned it.

  3. cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Having read the article by Mr. Berg, I have only to ask, who in blue balzes wouldn’t want Jose Reyes on their team after reading that? Not only a nice tribute to his late brother, Berg also does a wonderful job of capturing my feelings watching Reyes play. He is the Jedi Master of short stops at the moment; defensively and offensively.

  4. Joe - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    Gee, that article kicked up a bit of a dust storm in my office. Weird.

    Savor the moments, indeed. The first guy who came to mind for me was Pedro Martinez, particularly in 1999 and 2000. There were days when you got the impression that he could have announced every pitch he was about to throw and still wound up with a two-hit shutout. He was phenomenal.

    • b7p19 - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      Yeah, no kidding. They should really clean out these vents every once in a while… Great article. I will always remember watching Rickey Henderson play. Nobody enjoyed the game more than Rickey (as evidenced by him playing for $4,000 a month at age 45 with the Riversharks.)

      • b7p19 - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        Actually I think it was the Surf Dogs or something like that.

    • sneschalmers - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

      Who’s been cutting onions next to my computer!?!

  5. kev86 - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    I am glad the modern day Ricky Henderson that plays SS is a New York Metropolitan. I hope the mets resign him to a nice 5 year, 95 million dollar deal. JOSE for MVP ( and if you havent voted for him to be an All-Star, please do…he leads the league in a lot!)

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