Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jose Reyes Seeks Playoffs, Courage

The New York Mets game against the Florida Marlins was interrupted today when Mets shortstop Jose Reyes and Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo tusseled on field in the bottom of the fifth inning. Olivo was upset that his shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, had been struck by a pitch in the fourth that umpires ruled to be a foul ball, not a hit-by-pitch.

When relief pitcher Harvey Garcia threw a retaliation pitch behind Mets second basemen Luis Castillo, Garcia was warned, and went on to walk the batter. Miguel Olivo then went to the mound when his manager came out for a pitching change. Reyes, standing on third after the attempted beaning, apparently got into a verbal altercation with Olivo, although both men insisted the other provoked the confrontation. Reyes stated he thought Olivo was joking and said "you want to fight me?" When Reyes allegedly answered "yes," Olivo charged, heading straight towards Reyes.

Mets Third Base coach, Sandy Alomar Sr., saw Olivo charging, and stepped in front of his player, seeking to halt a physical confrontation before it began. Reyes, currently leading the majors with 78 stolen bases and considered one of the keys to the Mets future hopes at a Championship, reacted as any six year old girl would react in this situation; he grabbed his coach by the shirt and hid behind him, holding his coach at arms length and pointing him at the charging catcher.

As Olivo attacked, Reyes allowed his elderly base coach to take a shot to the head meant for him, and then, after several players got between them, proceeded to "attempt" to get to Olivo. His attempts waned rather quickly when he was embraced by Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera, giving up his "struggle" after only a few moments. Olivo, meanwhile, needed several players to restrain him.

Olivo was ejected for fighting, Reyes remained in the game. After several minutes, the game resumed, and Mets pitcher John Maine managed to get past the side show to pitch seven and a third innings of no hit ball before finally giving up an infield single to Olivo's replacement. The Mets won the game, 13-0, and regained their first place tie with Philadelphia with one game to go.

Reyes had originally intended spending the off-season working out, but his new itinerary now includes a trip to Emerald City, where he hopes the strange and powerful Wizard of Oz can give him some courage. Also included in the trip plan are teammates Lastings Milledge, who is seeking a brain, and Paul LoDuca, who creaks when he walks like a shambling tin golem.

"Oil can," LoDuca was quoted as saying through a rusted jaw.