Catching the baseball.

Many consider this the basic feature of America’s pastime. However, knowing our beloved Mets, they usually seem to screw it up.

Tonight in the Mets 9-2 loss to the Brew Crew, Jose Reyes dropped a pop up with two outs in the fifth inning. Dillon Gee had only given up two runs up to that point, with the Mets trailing 2-1.

Naturally, the next batter, Lorenzo Cain, stroked a two-run double to put the game out of reach by Mets standards. Through five starts, Gee will finish at 2-2 with a 2.18 ERA. Very impressive for the young righty.

Now back to Reyes. If you look at his numbers this year, you would think that he has had a productive year. He’s hitting .285 with 11 HR, 54 RBI (not bad for a leadoff man), and 30 SB. Though his .325 OBP is slightly low for a leadoff man, Reyes was considered the catalyst of this team.

However, Reyes still lacks the discipline and maturity needed to be a successful ballplayer. It seems like we’ve been saying this for some time now, but we always relented claiming that Reyes was still young.

Well, Reyes is now 27. It’s hard to believe, but he’s been in the league for eight years. When will we as fans stop giving him the benefit of the doubt for being young and start getting on his case?

With the error still fresh on everyone’s minds, the fans at Cit Field (albeit very few) let Reyes have it in the bottom of the seventh.


With Ruben Tejada on first, Reyes swung at a ball in the dirt for strike three (a familiar site), but the ball got away from the catcher. Rather than bust it down the line, Reyes casually dropped his bat and took a couple of steps towards first base.

What a disgrace! Here’s a guy who is a veteran player, is supposed to be a leader on this team, and makes a ton of money; yet he insists on not hustling or dropping easy pop-ups. His lack of focus is so apparent that his talent is wasted.

This Reyes rant is by no means a call to have him traded. He has a club option for 2011 which the Mets should pick up. I believe he still factors into the Mets future at shortstop and at the top of the lineup. There’s no question that the talent is there. But where’s his head at?

Even though these games don’t count anymore, we still saw guys like David Wright and Josh Thole give their best efforts to try to mount a comeback late in the game. Thole did make an error in the ninth, but it was on a hustle play. It’s obvious to spot the guys who care and those who don’t.

When Reyes is playing well and focused, there is no better sight in my mind than watching him having fun playing baseball. “As Reyes goes, so goes the Mets.”

But when Reyes’ lackadaisical play takes over, the only place the Mets go is down.

The Mets will get a taste of October baseball this year, although it will merely be a three-game series with the Nationals to close out the season rather than postseason baseball.

By the way, with the loss tonight, the Mets officially cannot finish at .500. Another side note, there couldn’t have been more than 5,000 people at the game tonight even though the listed attendance was 25,000. What a shame.

Here’s to a focused Reyes in 2011 and a return to playing fundamental baseball.

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