The New York Mets (77-85) ended the 2011 season with a 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds (79-83) on Wednesday afternoon baseball. New York has been a team that has grinded it out throughout most of the year without their big stars, now has some major issues to address in the up-and-coming offseason.
One of the many issues is the re-signing of All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, who is on the verge of winning the first ever batting title in the history of the organization. In what was a controversial and emotional move of the day-Mets skipper Terry Collins decided to take Reyes out after recording his first hit of the game.
Collins had hinted before the game today that he was going to take out Reyes after he recorded a hit today-and was a man of his word immediately lifting the star. The 28,816 in attendance didn’t know what to make of the situation-as most if not all were there to see what maybe the last days of Jose in the Orange and Blue.
“I spoke with Jose prior to the game today, and he said he wanted to come out after getting the hit,” Collins said afterward. The emotional manager started to cry, as the one thing he has wanted all season long is the respect of the team. “I understand that people are upset right now, but I don’t want to lose the respect of anyone of those guys in the locker room. I want the guys to know that I stand behind what I say.”
On the possibility of having Reyes have one last moment on the field before the season was over Collins had this to say, “I could have done that, but the agreement I had with Jose was that I was going to take him out after the hit.”
The New York shortstop finished with a NL-best .337 batting average, his competition for the title Ryan Braun will need to tally a 3-for-3 day or a 3-for-4 day to best Reyes in the race. If Jose is successful in winning the crown tonight, he will be the 11th different shortstop to do so.
“If I win the batting title it’d mean a lot to me,” Reyes said of the race. “But nothing has officially happened yet so we will see.” On his thoughts of possibly playing his last game, “It is too soon for me to think about this being my last game; I don’t know what will happen next.”
Jose had this to say of what he’d say to the fans, “I just want the fans to know though that they have meant a lot to me, and they will always be in my heart.” On the New York fans, “They have supported me my whole career, and it was nice to hear them cheering my name after the game.”
Since coming off the disabled list on August 29, Jose had had at least one hit in 25-of the last-28 games he has played (37-109 .339). He also finished the season riding an eight-game hitting streak.
Possibly getting lost in the day’s news is the fact that 40-year-old Miguel Batista (W, 5-2) tossed a two-hitter for the sixth complete-game shutout of his career and first since July 19, 2006. The righty was able to strike out a season-best five batters, while throwing 123 pitches, 76 for strikes.
“I was trying to make them hit the ball,” Batista said of his start today. “My main point was to make sure to get them to put the ball in play. I got a few guys to swing at the first pitch, and that really helped me stay in the game today.”
By blanking the Reds, Batista was able to help lift the Mets organization to their ninth shutout of the season and first since a 1-0 victory on September 7th vs. Florida. The last time New York had a starter toss a complete-game in the finale was when Nelson Figueroa closed out Citi Field’s inaugural season with a four-hitter, beating the Astros 4-0 on October 4, 2009.
“It means a lot to me-that I was able to pitch a shutout on the last game of the year,” Batista said. “We wanted to let fans know that we got wounded, but we are not dead. Hopefully we can get everyone healthy and play to greater expectations next season.”
On Batista’s start Collins had this to say, “Miguel was amazing today, 40-years old and to compete like that-it was amazing. There was no one in the pen to support him, Dillon Gee was the next guy in-but he showed what a professional he is…he made pitches and had a tremendous outing.”
One of the many bright spots to look forward too with this New York team, is the younger guys who maybe a part of the future for the Mets. One such name Mike Baxter, a Queens-native lifted his first major league home in the sixth inning.
“It was great- it was a great feeling to get my first one in New York,” Baxter said of his first homer. “He threw me a fastball; the opposing pitchers have been coming at me lately with it. I was looking on the inside portion of the plate-and he threw it there for me and thankfully I was able to get a good swing on it.”
On the young stars Collins had this to say, “I’m very excited about the young guys on the team. You can look at guys like Gee, Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, Pedro Beato, Justin Turner and Josh Stinson these are all guys that have really impressed me thus far this season.” Collins continued, “I know we also have a ton of guys that are coming and guys in the minor league that have a very bright future and I am looking forward to seeing them as well.”
The one hopeful thing that Mets fans can take away is the fact that this edition fought for all 162 games this season, and that is something that Terry has preached from Day One.
“We overcame a lot of adversity this season, yeah we were beaten up-but we competed hard all season long and that is all we can ask of anyone. I asked them to reach down a lot and they did that, they played hard and that is all I can ask. I am very proud of this team,” Collins said.
Now all fans can do is sit and wait, while Sandy Alderson and company determine who will be a part of this teams’ future and who won’t. Judging by the reaction of everyone at Citi Field, there is a tremendous amount of hope that #7 will be a part of the future-and the continued building of this franchise in Queens.
Story was originally seen on the Examiner.com site on September 28, 2011 and can be seen by clicking on the link below: