STICK REYES AT SHORT -- AND STICK IT TO THE METSBy Matt Marrone
50 Greatest Yanks
The first time my editor floated the idea of Jose Reyes replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop, I very nearly put a hole in our office wall.
It's painful to imagine anyone else playing short for the Yankees, let alone a current Met. It also doesn't help that Reyes is a bit of a hot dog, not quite the cool-as-a-cucumber Captain that Bombers fans have come to know, love and idolize.
But the more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that, as a Yankees fan, I really do want the best shortstop available in my infield -- and that shortstop very well may be Jose Reyes.
I still think the timing is off -- I'm not ready to banish Jeter to the outfield quite yet, or, God forbid, ditch Derek entirely -- but I'd love to stick Reyes at shortstop ... and, best of all, stick it to the Mets.
For years, we've been told by our crosstown compatriots that Reyes is the Big Apple's best, most dynamic shortstop. Mets fans, time and again, rip Jeter as merely average, a product of Yankees success who'd have been lost to obscurity if he'd played for a small market club.
Of course, I disagree -- but I can't help relishing this one thought:
Jose Reyes is the best shortstop in town? Well guess what: WE'VE GOT HIM.
We've got him, Flushing, and we've got him clean-cut, shirt firmly tucked into his pants, coldly spouting the company line with an emotionless, corporate smile.
Oh, yeah, and we've got him leading a playoff run, too.
Admittedly, it seems doubtful that even the cash-strapped Mets would let something like this happen. But what if they would?
Well, then, we might even take David Wright off their hands, too.
After all, A-Rod isn't getting any younger, and we could always use a DH.
BORING BOMBERS DON'T DESERVE REYESBy Matt Meyers
There are not many areas where Mets fans can claim supremacy over the Yankees. Wins? Nope. Ego? Nah. Rings? Certainly not. But the Mets and their fans can always take solace in the fact that they are always a more colorful bunch. The Bronx Bombers can have their no-mustached, buttoned-up stoicism; we'll take "yo la tengo," Choo-Choo Coleman and managers wearing fake moustaches. And no current player represents this difference more than Reyes, who plays with a mixture of joy, charisma and flair you won't see on 161st Street.
So if he somehow ever ends up on the Yankees (shudder), Mets fans will lose the one edge they have on their crosstown rivals. Yankees fans might realize that you are allowed to have fun playing baseball. That having long hair and being an All-Star are not mutually exclusive. They'll also see that while home runs are certainly the most efficient method of scoring runs, they're not nearly as entertaining as triples. (As a team, the Yankees have seven triples this year. Reyes has six.)
The Mets have been through this before in the 1990s when both Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry won World Series rings with the Yankees. The difference was that they were past their prime, and off-field issues had taken much of the shine off their Mets careers.
Of current Mets, Reyes and David Wright are most identifiable with the team because they are the club's best homegrown players since Doc and Darryl. But seeing Reyes playing for the Yankees would be a more painful sight for Mets fans than Wright in pinstripes. Why? Because when it comes to the image they convey to the public, Wright definitely has some "Yankee qualities," which is why so many have tried to pigeonhole him as the Mets' version of Derek Jeter.
But Reyes? The stuck-up Yankees don't deserve the kind of flair he has. Besides, they'd probably just try to beat it out of him.