Bench Jose Reyes, Are You Kidding?
It happens in every team sport, whether you’re earning millions or playing just for fun. When a team is winning, mistakes are swept under the carpet and forgotten about, because at the end of the day, the result is the only thing that matters. When said team is losing however, that’s when the switch suddenly flips. No matter how minute a flaw in a team is, or more specially a player, will be called out and blamed for the team’s poor form.
It happens in baseball and it has unfortunately happened yet again with a proportion of fans of the Toronto Blue Jays.
A little bit of background.
2013 was ultimately a season of failure, a World Series favorite that spiralled to a 74-88 record. Putting the unacceptable wins and losses aside, the sad thing about last year was the fact that a large percentage of fans were ready to quit on the team as early as May. After just 20 games, heck a #firegibby hashtag trended in the Toronto area.
The unique feature of baseball however, unlike any other major sport, is that a manager has virtually no impact on the result of the game. That may sound absurd and hard to accept, but apart from submitting the line ups and the substitution, the outcome of the game is otherwise directly left up to the players. The hitters try and score as many runs as possible and the pitchers try and limit runs scored as much as possible.
Fast forward to the present and, despite being a very different season until now, the recent slump has drawn out the boo-boys and #firegibby once more.
Personally, I thought the vehement criticism of John Gibbons last year was a personal attack, sourced from the schism left behind from his first stint as Manager. After reading and listening to the behemoth of negativity towards Jose Reyes yesterday however, it is clear that a proportion of Blue Jays fans are sadly among the most impetuous, desperate and pathetic fans in all of sports.
Please try and convince me otherwise.
In the 9th inning of the loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night with the Blue Jays down 5-2, Jose Reyes was shown on camera smiling and laughing on camera. Social media was predictably littered with calls for Reyes to be benched as a result.
Here’s why, if indeed one of these people, you have been embroiled in a great act of stupidity and ignorance. The offense is in the midst of one of its worst slumps in recent years, hitting just .233 since June 6th while scoring just 10 runs in their last 6 games. Hence, holding Reyes or any other player laughing or smiling responsible for the team’s form is laughable. They are simply not hitting well enough.
Secondly, and more importantly, Reyes uncovered something much larger than the game of baseball last night. I’m not saying that his actions were the best response to another tough loss, but Reyes always smiles. You know why? Because he is happy to be playing the game he loves. No matter the mood, you can count on him having a sanguine outlook that is actually incredibly valuable to a team. Taking Reyes out of the line-up would not solve the hitting slump,
After watching last night’s game, with Jose Reyes went 4-5 with 3 RBIs and a home run, I would like to ask those critics to speak up now.