On Tuesday night, Jose Reyes played in a Major League Baseball game for the first time since being suspended for 52 games for violating the league’s domestic-violence policy. Not only did Reyes play in the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Marlins, but he also got a standing ovation from the fans at Citi Field.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see fans supporting one of their players. On the other hand, a standing ovation? Really? For a guy who beat his wife?
“Well, I’m torn in that I just don’t think the Mets handled it with the right sensibility,” MLB Network analyst Brian Kenny said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Not that they’re not allowed to play the player that they just signed, but I was surprised. I did MLB Tonight (on Tuesday) and I was in the meeting with Cliff Floyd and Tom Verducci in the afternoon, and we were talking about it hours before the game. I said, ‘Well, are they going to ease him in? How are they going to bring him back?’”
By batting him leadoff and starting him at third base, that’s how.
“It was kind of jarring,” Kenny said. “Again, I don’t think there’s a perfect answer to this. Should he be banned for life? Should he never be able to work again? I don’t think that’s the case. At the same time, the way he came back – leading off – that sort of vibe led a lot of fans not to be thinking about why he was suspended for 52 games for beating his wife, but, ‘Hey, this was our shortstop for many years.’ So he got that applause and it just kind of made for a bad situation.”
Reyes, 33, went 0-for-4 in the loss Tuesday and 2-for-4 with a run scored in a 4-2 win over Miami on Wednesday.
“Again, not that he deserves to have his head hanging in shame forever,” said Kenny, author of Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution, “but at the same time, I think they could have handled it better and eased him back into the situation. So I would have just done it a little more quietly. By the way, it’s not as if, hey, this is the best player in the league so we have to get him back out there. So I found the whole thing puzzling.”