If baseball teams are getting peeved by celebrations, it’s pretty clear the second half of the season (and the one really worth paying attention to) is underway. The NEW YORK TIMES writes that Mets shortstop Jose Reyes’ exuberance at his three-run homer in Wednesday night’s game had the Philadelphia Phillies fuming a bit.
If it ticked off the players, it really got to the Phillies’ broadcasters. Larry Andersen said during the game of Reyes: “Somebody ought to put one in his neck.”
While the air was bad on Thursday, Reyes’ exuberance didn’t result in any skirmishes during the game, in which the Mets took the rubber match to take a lead in the NL East.
Still, [reliever Ryan] Madson and Philadelphia Manager Charlie Manuel said before the game that some of the Phillies players were none too happy about Reyes’s behavior, and Manuel even entertained the possibility of that frustration carrying over into Thursday’s game.
“When we retaliate against things, I’m all for that,” Manuel said.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel didn’t completely disapprove, but also wanted to put a bit of a lid on it:
“Cockiness is good if it’s handled right and to a certain degree.”
“He’s a very talented player; he could be one of the best players in baseball. But at the same time, he’s got a lot of growing up to do.”
That “growing up” process will make the race more interesting. It’s already made the season more interesting, if frustrating, for Mets fans and commentators alike. Reyes almost got into a scrape with Keith Hernandez over comments the former first baseman made about the Mets “babying” the 25-year old shortstop earlier this month.
While you can say that Jimmy Rollins has been cockier than Reyes in recent years, his team backed up his prediction of winning the division last year. It’s a prediction the Mets are still trying to get over after last season’s nasty collapse.
Frankly, the season doesn’t get interesting unless there’s some bad blood in the race for a pennant. While Reyes’ finger-wagging and other celebrations may be seen as childish, there is one virtue to it all: Seeing the players that psyched up is nice to see on the field, and a hell of a lot more entertaining.