Back when the Mets signed Jason Bay, I wrote an article titled "Bay Brings More Than Bat." I wrote about his character, the "grit" that he has, the grinder that he is. I wrote about his professionalism, work ethic, how he goes about his business, the type of team mate that he is, and how that will rub off on his fellow Mets.
If you just look at his numbers this season you will be disappointed. If you are a fan who just looks for highlights and doesn't really appreciate the small things, you could be disappointed in even watching him.
For true fans who really love the game, you have to respect and admire everything about Jason Bay: he handles the pressure so well, his demeanor is always the same, you can't ever read if he is discouraged or frustrated. The main thing about him though is his hustle. No matter if he hits a fly ball or a little dribbler, he runs hard, always bursting out of the box.
Last year the Mets lacked hustle, they lacked basic fundamentals, and they made a lot of mental mistakes. This year it's totally different, and a lot of that has to be credited to Jason Bay.
In the first game against the Indians, SNY's Gary Cohen spoke about how many infield hits the Mets had out of their twelve hits. And even in the post game Chris Carlin spoke about it. Why did the Mets have so many infield hits? Besides errors by the Indians, it was because everyone was hustling out of the box and running hard. That one game alone is proof of the impact Jason Bay has had on this team, because last year that wasn't the case at all.
Now, I'm not saying that he's the only one who plays like that, because Francoeur plays like that and Rod Barajas is a grinder too. It's different though when it's Jason Bay because of his contract. He is in the spotlight more, and as a result the team looks to him for guidance. For him to play the way he does, it just says a lot about his character.
A lot of the media who cover the Mets are talking about how there is something different about the Mets. Even when the Mets lose it's different, because they are always fighting. Everyone is talking about this fight that is driving the Mets. That wasn't the case last year, and a lot of that was because all of the disappointments they endured with the injuries. They lost their will and spirit.
With Jason Bay, you want to see the numbers go up, but the fact that they are winning, the fact that he plays the way he does, means you can tolerate it for now. I heard someone speak about how Beltran had a slow start with the Mets too, he only hit 15 home-runs his first year. Hopefully we won't have to wait a whole year, hopefully he gets really hot, but Met fans shouldn't be too worried because as hard as he works, he will come around.