Wednesday, April 15, 2009
In the last two days I've received multiple trade offers in a fantasy baseball league. My friend keeps offering me unbalanced packages in exchange for Jose Reyes. One of his offers was three-players, including the defending AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, for Reyes alone. I rejected this trade and all the others. For one thing I am worried about Lee's 9.90 ERA even though it is early and his curveball seems like it's still as good as ever. But more to the point is that Reyes is a player I want on my team, even if it's just an exercise in geekdom and Sabrmetricity.
Reyes is perhaps the most exciting player in all of baseball, even though he doesn't hit many home runs. His speed and baserunning ability make him fun to watch, as does the sheer fact that he is obviously having fun out there. A lot of tight-sphinctered Philly fans call Reyes immature and unprofessional, but I've never understood this line of thinking. Baseball is a game, no matter how much they're paying you to play it. So what's wrong with smiling and enjoying yourself with your teammates?
Anyway, tonight's game offered a quintessential example of how exciting Reyes can be. The situation: Castillo on 3rd, Reyes on first, Murphy at the plate. Padres P Mujica uncorks a pitch that goes through the catcher Nick Hundley's legs and ricochets up the third-base line. Castillo scores easily, and Reyes, who had been attempting to steal second, breaks for third on Hundley's errant throw home. When the ball gets by Mujica covering the plate, Reyes breaks for home and scores well ahead of 1B Adrian Gonzalez's throw.
Maybe it doesn't seem exciting in print, but Reyes essentially scored a run from first base on a passed ball. It was incredibly exciting to watch. Baseball is prone to long periods of inactivity (so is football, but no one ever seems to complain about that) and when the action comes it is in frustratingly short bursts. Jose Reyes makes more of those short bursts happen than any other player. And that's why I like having him on my team, whether it's at Citi Field or in cyberspace.