Ramirez quickly warmed to the idea of batting third for Florida. "That means I'm dangerous," a grinning Ramirez said. "All the good hitters bat third, fourth, fifth. I want to be around those guys."This seems to be the modus operandi (you know it as M.O.) of some of the national media, reading into the reactions of two players and picking the conclusion that stirs up the most reaction and the most controversy. Now, Gerry Fraley might be dead on with this. Maybe Jose really is a selfish dope who only wants to hit leadoff. Maybe Fraley is a better judge of psychological ticks than everybody else. But if a cliched "I'll do what the club tells me to do" is all he has to go on, then with all due respect I'm going to need a little more convincing.
Reyes took a passive-aggressive approach, saying without a hint of enthusiasm that he would hit where the club wanted him to hit. Reyes' reluctance spoke volumes.
Yeah, their responses were telling, as Fraley says. It tells me where these players play as much as anything. Is it possible, maybe, that Reyes' five years in New York dealing with the hoards of media has him more conditioned towards cliched, no-risk answers when dealing with the non-regulars? Meanwhile, the most Hanley has to deal with on a daily basis is Dan LeBatard yelling "Bam!" in the lockerroom when he's feeling particularly warm and fuzzy. So the cliche hasn't exactly seeped into Hanley's consciousness yet (as if his "I hate the Mets rant" from '07 wasn't enough proof.)
Reyes says something without enthusiasm. Therefore, he's passive-aggressive and he's going to lie down like a dog if he hits third. Because that's the gist of the whole passive-aggressive thing, in case you haven't looked it up lately. That's a wild conclusion to come to ... it's the Murray Chass school of logic: Mike Piazza has back acne. Back acne is a symptom of steroids. Here to forth: Mike Piazza is on the juice. The media is full of people who think they're Matlock who are just waiting to get these players on a witness stand:
Matlock: You don't want to hit third, do you?
Reyes: I don't care where I hit.
Matlock: No no ... you don't want to hit third. You can't hide it.
Reyes: (/breaks down in tears)
I'll concede that Jose Reyes is just never, ever, going to get the benefit of the doubt on things like this until he puts the Mets on his back single-handedly and gets them to the playoffs in September. I realize this. I hope it happens one day. In fact I hope that someday, Reyes is playing in the World Baseball Classic and makes an error which leads to three runs, and the ESPN announcers are so shocked that they stumble for things to say until they rationalize that it was actually the speed of the runner that caused Jete, uh ... Reyes to throw the ball into Orange County, and that it really wasn't his fault. I hope that this is the case one day.
Until then, we're left to fend for ourselves when it comes to separating the factual brain locks from the ones that are conjured up.
Thanks: Jaap, for pointing me in the right direction.