Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose ... Jo-se! Jo-se!

The Mets failed to complete the sweep of the Dodgers on Sunday, settling instead for two out of three and three wins in their last four games before embarking to Colorado and Houston this week. But rather than recap the weekend, I much prefer to talk about Jose Reyes.

Four triples in his last four games, and the guy has been pure dynamite. I actually had a dream last night that Jose hit three triples in one game, prompting Gary Cohen to cry on the air. I can totally see that happening.

He is that kind of player. I have made plain my feelings on Reyes and why the Mets would be smart to keep him in Flushing, and I'm glad to see that others out there are feeling the same way. I don't want him going anywhere, and I think most Mets fans agree he's just too good a player — a game-changer, homegrown, dynamic, everything fans love.

That said, if he does get traded or even if he signs elsewhere, here is what I would like to see happen. And by writing it down in this humble blog, I hope to get the credit when, 40 years from now, someone asks, "Where did that come from?"

On February 25, 1979, Islanders captain and All-Star defenseman Denis Potvin checked promising Rangers winger Ulf Nilsson and broke his ankle. While the Rangers went on to eliminate the Islanders in the playoffs that season, the Rangers lost to the Canadiens in the finals, Nilsson was lost for the season and by all accounts was never the same again, and the following season the Islanders began their string of four straight Stanley Cup championships.

Rangers fans, who hated Potvin already, now had even more reason to despise him, and created a chant that piggybacked onto the end of "Let's Go Band," a popular tune played in stadiums and arenas. (Side note: At Boston University, the marching band would play the tune and after the final three notes — DUM-DUM-DUM — the crowd would chant, "GO B.U.! BEAT B.C! THEY SUCK SH*T!")

At Rangers games, the organist would play the tune and the fans would yell, "POT-VIN SUCKS!" The Garden banned the playing of the tune in the mid-eighties, but the savvy and resilient Rangers fans (I have to give them credit on this one, and I am an Islanders fan) got around the ban by WHISTLING the tune en masse, and then chanting, "POT-VIN SUCKS!"

More than 30 years later, Rangers fans still do that chant, both at home and at Islanders-Rangers games at Nassau Coliseum. It has become part of the fabric of New York sports.

What does this have to do with Reyes? Well, should Reyes leave the Mets, at the first non-Reyes game at Citi Field — whether it is a regular season game in 2011 or the first home game of the 2012 season — Mets fans should, when the Mets' leadoff hitter steps up to the plate in the bottom of the first, start the JO-SE, JOSE, JOSE, JOSE chant.

And keep it up for the whole opening inning. And do that for every home game after. For the rest of the season, and for every game in every season to follow.

Can you imagine what that would be like? What better way for the fans to let their feelings known — other than by not buying tickets or merchandise. No signs that could be taken away by eagle-eyed ushers. There would be no way for the Mets to silence thousands of fans.

It would be incredibly emotional at first, but as time went on, the chant would become part of the regular home game routine. A haunting tribute to a player who transcended sabermetric analysis, who turbocharged not only his own team but the fans. Whose departure would suck the life from a fan base that has been battered the last five years.

Like I said, I hope Reyes stays. But if he goes, this has to happen. And when I'm at a Mets game with my grandchildren and they ask me, "What are the fans singing?" I will have some story to tell them.

No comments:

Post a Comment