The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com.

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Reyes Über Alles

[T]he only name anyone sings in the Yorkshire ale houses, raising their stinking jars to their stinking mouths, is Brian Clough. Brian Clough über-fucking-alles! Understand?
—Brian Clough, The Damned United

I don’t know when it will be 2006 again for the Mets. I don’t know when we’ll have a regular season in which we praise our lads to the high heavens from the Third of April to the First of October, from the top of the order to the pitcher’s spot. Nothing was ever wrong and all was always right a mere four seasons ago.

That’s a gauzy distortion of real time history, of course. We fretted everything and everybody when the season began and our ship was taking on anxieties by the nautical ton as it wound down, but there was a golden period somewhere in the middle when all was bright, all was clear and, above all, there was Jose.

Jose! Jose! Jose!

In the late ’90s, early ’00s, my friend Joe and I would go to random Saturday games, by no means seeking the same section every time, yet we always seemed to wind up in proximity to a group of fans who would break out into sing-song chant with no apparent baseball provocation. I never could make out what they were saying, singing or chanting, but it sounded more appropriate to one of those English football clubs whose games bars in Woodside advertised on their outdoor chalkboards than it did to whatever was going on at Shea.

Then one night in June 2006, after Jose Reyes had rounded first on a single that followed a homer, a double and a triple to therefore create a cycle, I heard it again through the TV. That chant or song. The English football guys from years before. What were they chanting/singing exactly?

“Olé”?

“Oyez”?

“Oy vey”?

No, it was Jose!

Jose! Jose! Jose!

As the animated man in the Guinness ads of the time would have put it, “BRILLIANT!”

I’ve never learned from whence Jose! was born. Was it a Shea scoreboard thing that actually caught on? Was it fan-generated? Was it the lads from the Mezzanine who used to congregate in full throat behind Joe and me? Don’t know where it came from, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Only Jose was going somewhere: to second or third most nights. Jose was going from “could be” to “is,” as in Jose is the Mets’ catalyst, the Mets’ ignition switch, the Mets’ lifeblood. Jose is the best leadoff hitter in the game. He is atop our lineup and we are on the top of the world.

Jose!

Jose! Jose! Jose!

Jose!

Jose!

As happens with every year once it becomes the past, 2006 gets harder to remember fully and accurately. The bright period from then is generally eclipsed by the gloomy ending now. What had been a storybook season became prologue for a dark and stormy next three chapters. Jose himself would have his moments across those pages — as would Jose! — but the resonance would literally and figuratively diminish. By 2009, Jose/Jose! took an involuntary extended sabbatical.

Met life, regrettably, went on without him.

Eleven days ago, a still young fellow wearing No. 7 stepped in to lead off a game for the New York Mets for the first time in a long time. He looked familiar, but his carriage struck no chord. The No. 7 I remembered was swift and sleek and above all sunny. This one was grim and attempting without success to gain his bearings. I kept an eye on him for the succeeding week and change. Still not quite right, still not quite what I remembered. Silence and glumness sat in his wake.

Then last night, on the radio, in the car, in the bottom of the second, joined in progress…Carlos Zambrano has already allowed one runner but he has two outs and the pitcher up. It’s Mike Pelfrey, with the Big Pelf-sized strike zone. But Zambrano finds it not big enough and walks his opposite number. That’s two on, meaning the order turns over to the leadoff hitter.

It’s Jose Reyes, mired in what is, for all intents and purposes, an 0-for-’10 slump. Gosh, I think, while making a left turn toward home, if he’s ever going to break out, this would sure be an ideal time to do it. The count goes to three-and-one. A walk wouldn’t be the worst thing, but, you know…

With that, there’s a swing and a drive to left and — yes! It’s in the gap! Here comes Pagan from second. Here comes Pelfrey from first (Christ, don’t get hurt on a play at the plate). Is Mike gonna score? He is, which is great and all, but now I want to know what I really want to know.

And then I know because Howie Rose tells me: Jose Reyes slides into third with his first triple of the season.

Jose Reyes with a triple. The 74th of his major league career, more than any Met. The first he’s collected since April 29, 2009, almost a year. There had been triples at Citi Field since then, but none by Jose Reyes, he for whose bat and legs and particular talent for creating triples this park was designed. Earlier, in the first, there had been a single. Later there’d be two more, plus a stolen base. But for now there was a triple. A Jose Reyes triple.

I don’t know how much or even if they were singing at Citi Field. But alone in the car, I sure as hell was.

20 comments to Reyes Über Alles

  • Mike

    Home town scoring. It was more like a double, with the runner advancing on an ill-advised relay throw to the plate. Whether Pelf would have scored, beating the tag play at the plate, is debatable, but, the inning would have likely been over if the Cubs had made the play at third.

    • CharlieH

      Whatever, dude.

      Jose ended up on 3rd, he gave his sgnature big clap and 2 runs scored.

      The. End.

      • Mike

        It’s all in the fundies, as Mex would say. If Jose gets caught, there’d be a lot of Mets’ fans screaming about how we ‘ran ourselves out of another inning,’ especially if big Pelf doesn’t score first.

        Against a less inept team (even the 3B, Ramirez was pointing incorrectly towards home), that’s an out, and maybe we only have a 1-0 lead coming out of that inning.

        Fundamentals…every play, every game.

        • CharlieH

          Perhaps Jose recognized all the stuff that the Cubs were doing wrong and took advantage.

          • Mike

            It didn’t look that way on the replays, but, I’d like that to be true.

          • Joe D.

            Agree with Mike, it seemed that Jose made a base running blunder but I’m giving him a pass this time because the adrenelin might have been over-flowing. He might also have been deeked out by the third baseman who was pointing to home.

            But then, did Chip Hale signal for Jose to stop? If not, then he’s taking Razor Shine lessons.

  • LisaMetsFan

    When Jose Reyes is healthy, he is the most fun, most exciting player in baseball to watch, bar none. Stay strong, Jose!

  • Paul

    I was unfortunately in class, but I had the ESPN gamecast on. Just seeing J Reyes tripled to left, Pagan and Pelfrey scored, and i started grinning like an idiot. If there is a heaven for Mets fans, in some prominent part of it we’d just get to watch Jose Reyes hitting triples.

  • The chant was absolutely created by Mets fans. I remember a group of guys in the Upper Deck trying to get an “Ole” chant going as early as 1999 in the form of “O Rey, O Rey O Rey O Rey…”. Obviously, it never caught on, but it was burned into my brain. When I heard it coming back around for Reyes in 2006, I was happy the worthy chant found a worthy home.

    Along those some lines, I remember being in the Upper Deck later in 2006 when Valentin was fully emerged in our good graces, and a group of guys tried giving him his own Jose chant along the lines of Buster Poindexter’s “Hot Hot Hot” (jose JO-SE, JOSE jo-se). It would have been great if that caught on. It also would have been great if Valentin repeated his 2006 performance in 2007, but OFW.

    • Moments before the triple last night, I heard “Reyes coming up” and I processed it as “Rey is coming up,” and for about five seconds I swear I thought “we got back Ordonez, I’m glad.”

      Then I returned to the present.

  • mikeski

    Over/under on the number of times we’ll get the “Joy” tag this season?

  • CharlieH

    OT: Igarashi to the DL, Manny Acosta up from Tatanka.

  • Joy is definitely the word. We could use plenty of that.

    And can we see more of the clapping and pointing? I never understood the criticism of Reyes, how his exuberant handshakes or gestures or smiling were “showing up” the opposition. You mean like Shane Victorino? Or Joba Chamberlain?

    I WANT opposing teams to hate us. I want them to hate Reyes. I want them to allow Reyes to get under their skin and annoy them. That’s baseball.

    I know the Cubs are bad right now, but this seems like a turning point. Let’s hope so.

  • Dak442

    I tried a couple of times to get an “Oy Vey” song going to celebrate Shawn Green expoits, and was met with puzzled looks and indifference every time.

  • You want it to be 2006 all over again, Greg? You really want to give up a Pennant-losing homer in the top of the 9th and have your best slugger take a called third strike with two outs in the bottom of the 9th? Oy vey, oy vey oy vey oy vey, oy vey…

  • Rob D.

    @Uncle Mike: that would be better than last year.

  • CharlieH

    Well, it was fun while it lasted…

  • […] being told he can’t move a muscle because he has a thyroid condition. That’s baseball. So are the voices that sing his name when he is cleared to return to the game he plays so […]