Smiles were aplenty when Jose Reyes won the NL Batting Title on the last day of the 2011 season, but Citi Field will be an unhappy place in 2012.
Those in the know about current pop music are aware of Katy Perry. Her current hit, The One That Got Away, is ninth on the Billboard Top 100. And while the song is about a lost love, I can't help but feel the message reigns true to the Mets faithful: "In another life, I would make you stay. So I don't have to say you were the one that got away."
Jose Reyes was the one that got away, and once again, it's the Wilpons who are at fault. According to Reyes (via The New York Post), “They didn’t make a real offer, so that means they don’t want me there.”
The problem is that while "they," the Wilpons, didn't seem to care if the shortstop walked, "they," the New York Mets fans, did. And now the organization has whiplash to deal with.
To say Fred and Jeff Wilpon are fan-favorites would be like saying the Miami Marlins have an awesome new logo—it's a lie. Cries to sell the team have been heard for as long as I can remember, with the head honchos making bigger blunders year after year. Trusting Burnie Madoff was one. Bashing a handful of the team in an interview with the New Yorker earlier this year was another.
Building a baseball stadium to honor a team that moved to Los Angeles rather than its current tenants, and the numerous players that slipped out of the teams grasp and those that joined and became busts are further reasons. OK that last one isn't entirely their fault, but I'm still bitter about Ollie and Castillo.
Now with Reyes leaving, fans are viewing this as the tipping point. The "Don't Trade Reyes" movement, was fronted by The 7 Line (a T-shirt company specializing in Mets garb) founder Darren Meenan. The cause has turned into the "Sell the Team" movement, with it's own brand new apparel. And for those fans who spent their money in buying shirts for the former movement, discounts are available for trading them in for clothing supporting the latter.
Is it time for the Wilpons to sell the Mets?
Reyes is gone. Now what?
The void of a missing shortstop is to be filled by Ruben Tejada, a .284 hitter in 2011. It's a bit of a drop off from Reyes' .337, but expecting any numbers close to the NL batting champ by anyone else on the roster is ludicrous.
Who bats leadoff? Likely new acquisition Andres Torres, who had 19 stolen bases in the season for San Francisco—a whole 20 fewer swiped bags than Reyes.
Who brings fans to the stadium? Reyes was the main reason Citi Field got the attendance it did last year, and even then the numbers failed to impress. The Mets are in turmoil, and losing the biggest name on the roster doesn't help matters.
Losing Reyes after nine years in New York, especially to a divisional rival like the Marlins, hurts. It hurts the dedicated faithful who have watched the team regress in nature year after year since the collapse in 2007. It hurts the team that no longer has a dependable guy to get a leadoff knock and pick up a steal a few pitches later to get a runner in scoring position in the opening inning.
It hurts the Wilpons, who have nobody to blame but themselves for the impending drop in attendance and income.
The fact that New York will be fighting with Washington to claim fourth in the NL East is a disgrace. But what else is to be expected from a franchise that rivals only the Cubbies in misery?
Fasten your seat belts, Metsies. It's gonna be a bumpy year.