When David Wright, the team’s injured captain, analyzes what Jose Reyes has done to help the Mets get to Wednesday’s wild-card playoff, it goes beyond third base.
Reyes has helped to fill the void left by Wright by doing many of the same things the captain did, only in more hyperactive fashion. And those leadership qualities have been just as important as anything Reyes has done at the plate or with his glove, as Wright knows very well.
“Just character-wise, what he’s bought to the clubhouse,” Wright said during Tuesday’s workout at Citi Field. “He has that ability to bring energy and keep things loose when things aren’t going so well. When you’re riding that roller coaster, and you’re down and the team’s down, and you see the way he goes about business, and the way he acts, it brings a smile to your face and makes everything even keel through a long season.”
Reyes already was friends with Wright from their time basically growing up together in Flushing, but he bonded quickly with the rest of the clubhouse, and specifically Yoenis Cespedes, who previously seemed to keep mostly to himself. Reyes is responsible for the DO YOUR THING sign above the Mets’ clubhouse door, a personal slogan, and many of his teammates credit him for making the game a little more fun.
Wright was plenty familiar with all that. And despite Reyes’ personal troubles elsewhere, which resulted in a 52-game suspension for domestic abuse, the Mets’ captain had a sense he would be the same person he grew tight with before leaving as a free agent after the 2011 season.
“It’s almost like when he came back, we picked up where we left off,” Wright said. “It wasn’t like communication broke off when he was gone. When he came back, the jokes started on Day 1. It almost felt like he never left.
“Sure it’s a little weird seeing him out there. But again, you’re at a point now where anything I can do to help, and if that includes trying to help Jose with anything I can help him with, sign me up.”
Wright did help Reyes get acclimated at third base, a position he’d never played before returning to the Mets. No one has spent more time at third than Wright in franchise history, and now, forced to be a spectator after neck surgery, he’s hoping for Reyes to succeed there.
“He’s done an excellent job,” Wright said. “We texted back and forth when he was in the minor leagues quite a bit. Pretty soon I’m going to be taking notes from him. We’ve welcomed him with open arms.”