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Reyes, Sox, Rays and the death of the Tomahawk Chop.

POSTED September 29, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

AT HOME ON VACATION: While we normally dedicate Litchfield County Sports.com to the local scene, allow me to digress for just a couple of minutes to talk about the pro world as I enjoy the last few days of my vacation.

--As a lifelong New York Mets fan, I could not help but throw a big thanks out to “Red Sox Nation” after the Bostonians coughed up a bigger hairball than any of my cats ever could.

Taking that title of biggest collapse in baseball history away from the team from Flushing was mighty kind of the team my Mets caused considerable misery to back in 1996 when they were one out away from their first title in forever.

This collapse was not unseen though, the Red Sox were a flawed team from the start this season when they lost their first seven games and took forever to get the motor running.

Never helps when you are predicted to win it all and be the best team in the past 100-years as they were in some pre-season writers minds.

Face it, this team was not as talented as they were when they won it all in both 2004 and 2007.

The pitching is getting old. For once the Mets were correct in not picking up John Lackey, who would have even worse in New York than he has been in Boston. Josh Beckett wandered in and out of mediocrity most of the year while Jon Lester and Tim (I can pitch till I’m 50) Wakefield just could not get in done down the stretch.

I understand a Sox fans pain for certain though. When Tom Galvine gave up all those first inning runs in the Mets last game of 2007, it was the beginning of the end and the Wilpon gang started a radical slide into obscurity.

Our apologizes for the Carl Crawford deal Sox fans, that used to be a move only Mets management could make.

---Speaking of the team that can mess up just about anything, the disgraceful way the team caved to MLB on the September 11 “NYPD” hats scandal was a new low.

Not standing up to the powers that be in the league offices shows how deeply indebted the team is to MLB on the financial end.

Really, wearing caps that saluted the brave men and woman who died on September 11, 2001 would cause other problems for baseball? An absolute disgrace is what it was.

Then there was the Jose Reyes incident from the final game of the 2011 season when the oft-injured shortstop was trying to secure the NL batting title.

With a two-point lead over the Brewers Ryan Braun entering the final day, Reyes took himself out of the game after reaching on a bunt single leading off the bottom of the first.

Braun would need to go 3-for-4 in his final game (he went 0-4) to catch Reyes and I have to admit, I became a Braun fan for the night.

Winning a batting title is great and all for the individual player but the way Reyes handled it was minor league at best. Stay in the game for at least three at-bats. Give the fans who came to see you a chance to watch you play for perhaps the final time in a Mets uniform.

With the team looking to cut payroll under the $100 million mark next year, it is highly unlikely the cash strapped Mets will be able to give Reyes what it will take to stay in NY.

Selfishness in professional athletes in nothing new and should not surprise us but when it is flaunted in such a blatant way, it still makes you scratch your head.

Moving the fences in may help a bit in 2012 but if the Wilpons hang on as it seems they are bound and determined to do, nothing will change in Queens and I won’t have to worry about the team for another year as they stay well out of contention.

---Any team on any level could take a lesson from Joe Madden and the Tampa Bay Rays who put on a remarkable rally late on the last night of the season to gets themselves into the playoffs while knocking out the choking Red Sox.

For a team that plays in front of nobody most nights at “The Trop“, this group of players and coaches has simply installed a culture of winning despite not having the biggest payroll.

While they might not go far in the post season, never count out the Rays until the final out is in the books.

Wonder how those fans who left in the seventh inning of the clincher feel right now?

---As a Mets fan, if I can’t win, I may as well enjoy someone else’s misery.

Enter the Atlanta Braves. It was a bit fitting that long time Mets nemesis, Chipper Jones, saw his late inning, potential game winning hit get run down at the wall. If that is against the New Yorkers, two outfielders collide, there’s a concussion and the winning run scores. Undoubtedly, inevitably, it would just happen and the Mets doctors would declare the player healthy and he would be out for two years.

I only like seeing any fans do that annoying Tomahawk Chop at Torrington football or basketball games. It still reminds me of Atlanta though.

Oh well, time to sign this one off, like so many lost New York Metropolitan seasons.

Hey, at least Rex Ryan and his Jets have guaranteed me a Super Bowl win (again, yikes).

 

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