Jose Reyes’ controversial return to the Mets did not faze fans during his first appearance with the Cyclones on June 26.
Major League Baseball suspended the former all-star (and 2003–2011 Met) for violating its domestic abuse policy — police arrested Reyes last year after he got into a fight with his wife at a Four Seasons hotel in Hawaii, but a judge dropped the charges because the spouse wasn’t cooperating with prosecutors. The Colorado Rockies released him last Thursday, and the Mets announced they’d take him in on June 25. Reyes is entitled to another shot and should only be judged on his baseball merits, one fan said.
“Everybody deserves a second chance,” Brooklynite Jean Kelso said. “It’s something out of baseball. It’s not right to go around abusing people, but you don’t know the circumstances. We were not there.”
Fans came out to Brooklyn in droves for the chance to see Reyes, who hit leadoff and started at third base. The Cyclones sold more than 2,500 tickets in the first hour after announcing Reyes would be joining the squad. The official attendance on Sunday was 7,851 — an early-season best.
Indeed it was tough to find anyone who wasn’t excited about Reyes’ return. One fan has been hoping for a homecoming since the shortstop left the Amazins five years ago, he said.
“I’ve been waiting a few years for this, he’s my favorite player of all time,” Queens native Michael Marca said. “I got tickets as soon as I could. I saw the news and planned to come out with a couple of friends.”
Reyes admitted to some pre-game nerves but was thankful for the warm reception, he said.
“It’s a little bit emotional,” said Reyes, who is still undergoing counseling for last year’s incident. “I don’t know what to expect. I know people like me a lot here in New York. I see people calling my name, and that’s a good feeling — it means people still like me. They know this is the first time I got in that kind of trouble.”
But Reyes’ return performance wasn’t exactly dominant during his team’s 1–0 win over Hudson Valley. He went 0-for-3, including a strikeout and a fielder’s choice, before leaving the game in the seventh inning.
The lack of production didn’t stop fans from chanting “Jose!” throughout the matchup.
The Mets are hoping to move the 33-year-old to double-A Binghamton or triple-A Las Vegas as soon as possible. It may be a few weeks until Reyes makes his Citi Field debut, but fans are hopeful that the reunion can help jump-start the recently anemic Mets offense. In the end, they’re simply happy to have Reyes back.
“How ever he can make the team better, that’s what we’re looking forward to,” said Bronxite Angelique Dones.