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By Andrea Peyser
July 11, 2016
I can’t bear seeing former and current Met José Reyes defiling sacred ground at Citi Field. The bad-news baseball- and woman-basher was cynically scooped up for a song by the Amazin’s, the same team that signed him as a scrawny 16-year-old prospect from the Dominican Republic and watched him evolve into a base-stealing, triple-hitting demon.
Now at age 33, the ex-shortstop has old-man legs, and he’s not that legendary speedster anymore. Take a hike, José.
It’s often said that everyone deserves a second chance, and who am I to claim that the lowest form of pond scum, a wife-beater, can’t mend his ways?
But in any other job, from solid-waste manager to corporate president, a testosterone case’s acknowledgment that he grabbed the woman he wed by the throat and flung her into a sliding-glass door in a terrifying fit of rage would be, at best, a career killer. At worst, it would land the deviant behind bars. At the very least, it would be
ground for a messy and expensive divorce.
This is baseball, though, and if a guy is deemed even remotely capable of helping his squad win, all is forgiven, if not forgotten — chicks be damned.
The betrayal hurts. I’m probably one of the Mets’ most ardent super fans, sticking with the mutts through victories, outrageous meltdowns and even last year’s spectacular World Series drubbing by the Kansas City Royals. Maybe Mets fans secretly enjoy pain. Or, as a gal saddled with an inferiority complex from growing up in lowly Queens, where my beloved lads and Reyes play home games, I think I deserve to suffer. Who knows? I’m not a shrink.
But I was among those who chanted at the top of my lungs, “José, José, José, José! José, José!’ every time Reyes came up to bat at Shea Stadium and later Citi Field — a song that morphed into the urgent, “Oh stay, oh stay, oh stay, oh stay! . . . ’’ as he seemed headed for the free agent’s exit.
Then, he had his luxuriant dreadlocks publicly shorn after accepting a six-year, $106 million contract with the Miami Marlins after the 2011 season.
Leaving New York City, Reyes has hinted, began an emotional downslide.
Or is that just a con? Are we to feel sorry for him?
The Marlins traded him after about a year to the Toronto Blue Jays, which palmed him off on the Colorado Rockies in 2015. That off-season, the public was introduced to a
José Reyes I wish we never met.
Katherine ReyesPhoto: Anthony Causi
Reyes attacked his wife, Katherine Ramirez, in a Hawaiian resort hotel room on Halloween night, leaving the mother of the couple’s three daughters with a scratched neck and an injured face and left leg, according to a security guard’s 911 call. But a charge of “abuse of a family and/or household member” was dropped after Ramirez refused to cooperate with prosecutors.
The Rockies cut him after he served a 52-game unpaid suspension. For Mets bosses waiting in the wings to scoop him back up, the penalty was genius. MLB honchos appeared tough on domestic violence, while Mets brass had an excuse for giving a sinner a shot at wiping his slate as clean as a baby’s behind.
“I’m sorry for what happened’’ — not “what I did’’ — Reyes said on July 5 after spending a few days in the minor leagues, then starting that day as the Mets’ third baseman.
He said he had attended counseling sessions. “I know there are going to be some people who hate me, so I understand that, I put myself in that situation . . . ”
This isn’t the only team to pick up a player accused of domestic-abuse at a bargain rate. Cuban defector and former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman, 28, was signed by the Yankees — the first player disciplined under the MLB’s get-tough policy against immoral incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, enacted in August.
Chapman was banned from 30 games without pay after a police report surfaced accusing him of choking and pushing his girlfriend against a wall and firing eight gunshots into the garage of his Florida house on Oct. 30. The closer faced no criminal charges because of conflicting reports about the incident.
Another Cuban defector, Atlanta Braves center fielder Hector Olivera, 31, was hit with an 82-game unpaid suspension after being arrested and charged with assaulting and battering a woman in April.
Expect more players to emerge virtually unscathed from awful abuse allegations, enabled by Major League Baseball. As far as I’m concerned, José Reyes is dead to me.