In professional sports – or at any level of any sport, really – you don't want to be compared to a baby. If that happens, you probably aren't being flattered. You don't want to be accused of babying anything, or of being babied. You don't want to be caught watching "Three Men and a Baby." You don't want anyone to overhear you singing "Baby I'm-a Want You."
Baby = not good.
So the recent comments made to the New York Post by an unnamed member of the Mets could potentially lead to friction:
On a day [Jose] Reyes appeared in a minor league exhibition game against the Cardinals – his most extensive action since returning last Wednesday from an overactive thyroid – one Mets player told The Post there is a prevailing feeling in the clubhouse that the shortstop is being “babied” because the organization fears a potential public relations hit should the shortstop reinjure his hamstring.
Reyes, of course, only appeared in 36 games last season due to hamstring troubles, and he was literally confined to a couch for two weeks this spring because of the thyroid issue. He's expected to hit lead-off for the Mets, whenever they allow him to do something more than participate in minor league games at half-speed.
As the unidentified player told the Post's Mike Puma, "You can get hurt as easily playing [a minor league exhibition] as playing on opening day."
There's a massive difference in talent between Reyes and his understudy, Alex Cora(notes), so it's easy to understand the frustration expressed by the mystery Met. New York is substantially more dangerous (and entertaining) with Reyes on the field. Of course he's also a speed-dependent player, so if there's any ongoing reason to be concerned about his hamstrings, perhaps he should be babied just a little. Out of respect to Reyes, however, we should consider using a different term.
Suggestions are encouraged, as are your projections for Reyes' 2010 season…
Photo via US Presswire