Even as it happened, we all knew the big story of Jerry Manuel’s first game as the Mets’ manager–win or lose–would be the moment in the very first at bat when he took Jose Reyes out of the game. Jose had clutched the area around his knee, and Jerry wanted to be conservative to avoid any serious injury. As we watched Jose protest, and then finally bark something out while throwing down his helmet, we all knew we’d hear about it in the post-game show and all the papers the next day.
But what the papers wouldn’t catch was Jose Reyes’ expression as he apologized later to Jerry Manuel. He threw his arm around his new skipper’s waist and gave the kind of “I’m sorry, I know I did bad” smile you’d expect from a puppy. Or, ya know, from Jose Reyes. One hopes that Jose learned his lesson. But one also enjoys that sheepish “I’m sorry, papa” smile. I have a feeling that smile lets Jose Reyes get away with a whole lot, if perhaps mostly off the field.