Met superstar Jose Reyes slummed it as a Cyclone on Monday, creating a fan and media frenzy at MCU Park, though the Major League all-star failed to bring the one thing the struggling Cyclones really needed — a “W.”
The Cyclones fell to the Lowell Spinners, 11-4, but the game result was an afterthought for fans who were happy to see the big club’s leadoff man playing like the league-leading batter that he was before landing on the disabled list on July 2 with a hamstring injury.
Reyes went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored — and looked healthy (and happy).
“Everything went good, I’m happy about it,” Reyes said. “I tested my hamstring running the bases and I didn’t have any problems.”
Reyes saw his first action leading off in the bottom of the first, hitting a 3-2 pitch on the screws, but directly at the Lowell centerfielder for an out.
In the third, Reyes grounded out to second, but he finally made his mark in the sixth inning, ripping the cover off a ball and sending it deep to center field wall for a stand-up double. After moving to third on a groundout, he led fans in a chant of “Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose!” — his CitiField theme song.
“I’m out here in New York, this is Brooklyn, you know?” he explained later. “I still have fans here so it’s good to see people come out and support me.”
He scored later in the inning on a bloop single.
In the field, Reyes only got to show off his rocket arm once, scooping up a slow-rolling ground ball in the third and firing it on a line to first for the out.
Reyes was pulled in the sixth inning, but got a thunderous applause from the announced crowd of 8,126.
“He played very well today I was really impressed with him,” said Sheepshead Bay resident Gus Eisenstein. “Being a Mets and Cyclones fan, I was very happy that the fans gave him a big reaction.”
But it wasn’t just how Reyes performed on the field that left the Cyclones regulars awestruck, the team was impressed from the moment the star shortstop stepped into the clubhouse.
“He enjoys the game, but the thing I like most about him is when he came to the ballpark today he walked in and he spent 45 minutes doing exercises and getting loose and getting ready, then he went out and took ground balls, then he went out and hit, it was his preparation,” said Cyclones Manager Rich Donnelly. “You could see that that’s what he does everyday and he’s worked hard to get where he’s at.”
Daniel Muno, the Cyclones regular shortstop and leadoff man, was more than happy to make room for Reyes — if only for the chance to soak in everything he could.
“We took some grounders together and I was just trying to mimick him,” said Muno, who was 2-for-4 on the day to raise his average to a Reyes-like .361. “He’s got such unbelievable skills.”
Muno found out that Reyes would be taking his place on the field and in the lineup after doing the most Reyes-esque of things.
“I actually hit a triple the other day, and coach said, ‘Looks like you’re going to be moving down the ladder on Monday — Jose Reyes is coming to join us,’” Muno recounted. “I said, ‘That’s awesome, I’ll move down the ladder anytime for that guy.’”
Reyes upheld the longstanding tradition of buying his minor league colleagues a post-game meal — this one catered from Gargiulo’s down the block.
“He bought us all dinner,” said Donnelly. “And Gargiulo’s — this ain’t no nickel and dime joint.
“He’s a class act,” added Donnelly.