The Return of Jose Reyes - NBC New York

The Return of Jose Reyes

Reyes makes his first visit to Citi Field's visitor's locker room



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    There aren't many nights worth circling on this year's Mets schedule, but Tuesday is one of them.

    It's Jose Reyes' first game at Citi Field in a new uniform, something that everyone has been looking forward to since he signed with the Marlins as a free agent during the offseason. Reyes' return has touched off a bit of discussion around the area about whether the crowd should greet him with cheers or if there should be boos for a player who left the Mets to sign with another team in the same division.

    We're expecting a warm greeting when he leads off the game, especially since that trip to the plate will be accompanied by a video tribute to his days with the Mets. The cheering is no bother, but the video is a little more complicated.

    The problem isn't taking a moment to honor what Reyes meant to the franchise during his nine years in a Mets uniform. He meant a lot and did some great things, and recognizing that is a classy move regardless of the fact that he chose to leave for a divisional rival.

    Nor is the problem that the man replacing him is currently ill-suited to the task. Ruben Tejada is a fine player who should only get better and that's fine even if his best-case scenario isn't quite at the Reyes level.

    The problem is that all it does is highlight how little was left behind when Reyes followed the lead of so many New Yorkers and flew to Florida over the winter. Every triple that pops up in that video comes with a backdrop of fans jumping out of their seats and chanting "Jose! Jose! Jose!" with huge smiles on their faces.

    Right now, there's no one who comes close to generating that kind of reaction from the fans. That's a big reason why there were so few people in the stands at the start of Monday's dismal doubleheader.

    There figures to be more people in the stands on Tuesday night, but even that only serves to underline the larger issue at hand. The Marlins roll into town as a team flush with new stars, new hope and new expectations, while the Mets roll out with perilously little in any of those departments.

    Nothing can change that right now. The only thing the Mets can do is believe in what Sandy Alderson has done and will do to make sure that tomorrow is brighter than today.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.