Lima Culpa. He's worthless. Get him out of here. I don't just mean DFA'd, which he's been. Jose Lima can be of no help whatsoever as a pitcher in this organization. That spicy meatball he threw Dontrelle Willis with the bases loaded? I can't believe he hit the whole thing. Nice fella, Lima, but let him loosen another team's dugout. Good night, funny man.
Jose Lima has to go and Jose Reyes has to go. No, not the same kind of go. Young Jose has to go to Pittsburgh Tuesday. Though the nick he took from the Marlin first baseman's spike (thanks a bunch Jakey — don't come back now, y'heah?) on that somewhat ill-advised dive into first was described as a fairly insignificant cut to the left pinky, I just heard on Geico SportsNite that he'll be sat through the weekend. Unfortunate, but if necessary, we can get by with Chris Woodward for a few games.
His trip to the All-Star Game may also be in some jeopardy. That I can't abide.
I understand I probably have it bass-ackwards, that it's the divisional showdowns (or what passes for them) that matter and that a contest with no impact on the standings, even if it “counts,” isn't high-priority. But fuck that. I want my boy in Pittsburgh. I want all our boys in Pittsburgh, but I get that won't happen. No Pedro, no kidding. Glavine won't throw, no biggie. Lo Duca still has thumb issues? I can live without him taking more than a bow. But not Jose.
Why? 'Cause he's my favorite player. He's been my favorite player since June 10, 2003 when he was called up to replace some chump named Rey Sanchez as our shortstop. He was the bridge from my post-Alfonzo depression to our 2005 revival. I love David Wright as every Mets fan does, but it was Reyes, not Wright, who gave me someone and something to believe in. Jose was here first. Jose showed me that there was going to be amazing talent on at least 1/25th of our roster. It was Jose who made the Art Howe Era something more than death's waiting room. Many celebrate the feats of Wright and Reyes. I revel in Reyes and Wright.
I've waited for the day when my favorite player would be voted to start for the National League All-Star team. I don't mean three short years, but all my life. Technically, it's never happened. Seaver and Gooden started All-Star Games but weren't voted on because they're pitchers. Fonzie was added to the roster once but never elected. Jose isn't quite in that personal pantheon yet, but he is the first “my favorite” to be chosen by the fans at large for something. So there was an extra jolt of emotion for me last Sunday when the starters were announced and my man, Jose Reyes, was revealed as the pick of a wide swath of baseball fans. Someone else noticed my favorite player besides us…besides me.
Hence, with a lead so bulgy that a virtual forfeit to our most serious rivals barely registers, I'm primarily caught up in whether Jose Reyes is capable and/or permitted to play in a meaningful exhibition. I don't demand nine innings Tuesday. Let him go out into the field and avoid charging baserunners. Let him lead off for the Senior Circuit, bang a line drive and, if he's not held on, slide feetfirst into second. Let Carlos or David drive him in. Then take him out, ice his pinky and get him ready for the Cubs on Friday.
Jose has earned his star. He has built on everything that was said on his behalf leading up to June 10, 2003. He overcame all the pulls, pops and strains that tripped him up. He learned. He gets on and he runs. We've never had anybody like him. I want the world to see him: Now Tuesday in Pittsburgh, then October at Shea. One inning is all I ask.
Confidential to our Maine readers: After one perfect, hard-throwing appearance, Henry Owens has been handed the seventh inning in my head. Heilman is free to resume starting after the break. Oliver deserves all emergency starts pending the fortunes of John Where You Are in the opener today. You may now return to wrestling bears or whatever it is one does there in Southern Canada.