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November 2011

Jose Reyes Rumors: Fact Or Fiction?

Many of you who know me recognize how much I love movies and one of my favorite films is The Paper, which gives us a sneak peek inside a newspaper newsroom. One of the best scenes in the film is when Michael Keaton is trying to get his editor Robert Duvall to print a story with a flimsy source.
Duvall says, "Get a quote. You know...They speak...You write...We print." And it occurred to me that is what we need in this Reyes story -- a quote.
Too many people are guessing, theorizing, and pontificating as to what is going on. The agents for Reyes and most of the teams interested in him (including the Mets) have not leaked much information and that has people grasping for things. And to generate stories, people are taking leaps of faith. The biggest was of those was on Sunday when it was leaked by one member of the media that a Reyes deal with the Marlins was done except for some minor details. PLEASE STOP THE INSANITY!
For example, some people suggest that Hanley Ramirez has been asked to switch positions -- others contend he has not. Some says it is a slam dunk he will move anywhere -- even center field. The only thing I can tell you is Hanley Ramirez said as recently as Friday,"I am the shortstop right now."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement he'd move and it could be argued he may ask for more money down the road if he does indeed move. Here is what I know: Reyes has been offered a contract by the Marlins but I am not sure about the length of the contact or the money terms. He will continue to look at his options and both the Mets and Reyes have agreed to speak once the offers come in. In the interim, the two parties will keep in touch. I'd be very surprised if anything is decided before Thanksgiving because the timeline dictates otherwise.
I also have too much respect for Mets fans who read my blogs to mislead them with erroneous information. On this story, I'd rather be second and right than first and wrong. I have been saying for the past 12 months I think Reyes will stay here and although so much info is out there to the contrary, the truth is there is still so much game time left in the Reyes chase. And for Reyes there are many things to consider with money being high on that list but not the only thing to consider. His representatives have always put "whats best for their client" well in front of "setting the market price" and that is very important to consider here. I do know Jose felt hurt by the comments attributed to Fred Wilpon earlier this year and that too plays into the equation here.
If Reyes is telling the truth here that the Mets will get a final chance before he agrees to a contract, then the Mets must decide what they are prepared to do. For the record, I've known Reyes since his rookie year and he always been straight and honest with me so I have no reason not to believe him now. Still, there will be much to process on both sides. From a Mets perspective, would they go past a four-year deal and at what dollar level? Is $100 million the magic number for Reyes? Will Jose look at some players like Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford who got the big payday but had unhappy years as something to be ever mindful of? Does he feel the Mets financial situation will preclude them from improving the team down the road with high ticket free agents? Is the Marlin pursuit of free agents just a smokescreen to stimulate ticket sales? Would forcing Hanley to change positions create locker room issues as opposed being in a Mets locker room where everyone now gets along?
These are important things for both sides to consider and will take time. Of course in the world of Twitter and other social media sources, waiting is never tolerated. It is like the Wild West. Write anything you want, say anything you want, you can always change your position later. Because of that, you -- the Mets fan have to separate fact from fiction but I will promise you this. You will only get from me what I know -- not what I think will gain attention for me. I learned from early in my reporting life-being wrong about a story could hurt your career much more than breaking a story can help it.
And as Robert Duvall said in The Paper, "For crying out loud, get a quote and we will print the story."

Paterno Must Step Down

When the Penn State story broke this weekend, I was shocked to hear what had happened, but in the last 48 hours as the horrific details continue to filter out, I can only think of the children that were abused and how their lives were taken from them. Think about all the things we took for granted as kids with safety at the top of the list. And these children may never feel safe again - no matter what happens.
But the thing that really angers me is that there was not one adult that put the children's safety first. You know what they put first? The Program, football, wins, and the Nittany Lion legacy and that is why Joe Paterno should be asked to resign and if he refuses, the locks need to be changed on his office door. According to the Grand Jury documents, eight children were abused by Jerry Sandusky, but how many more are afraid to come forward because they were threatened? The testimony infers that children were taken on trips by the coach and if they did not comply with his request, they would be punished by being sent home.
The fact that in 2002 Sandusky severed ties with Paterno and Penn State and never got as much as a passing interest from another school should have been a red flag for everyone involved. It makes me think other schools heard the rumors and stayed as far away from him as possible. That is understandable for those schools, but for Penn State to look the other way and allow Sandusky to have access to the campus and bring young boys to practice as recently as 2007 is difficult to comprehend. Many people theorize Sandusky was revered in Happy Valley but my point here is a simple one -- Joe Paterno is the one person in this program that carried more clout than Sandusky and he could have pulled the plug here. Instead of doing that, he passed the buck by merely telling his superiors about it. Paterno could have demanded that more be done here and that is why he has blood on his hands as well.
And then there is the graduate assistant who witnessed a crime being committed in the shower of the locker room. All I can say is a reasonable person should have pulled that child to safety instead of waiting to tell his superiors. Every human being has a responsibility in this case to protect a defenseless child who is being molested by a predator. But even if he was unsure what to do, what happened when he told his superiors? They tried to sweep it under the rug and looked the other way. Disgraceful.
The DA said in her press conference this is not about a university or a football program and she was right. But in a sense, the Penn State football program is in question here as well. They had a responsibility to come forward and help. They had a responsibility to tell the authorities the truth--especially when being deposed by the Grand Jury. And for crying out loud, they had a responsibility to do all this so future children would not be molested.
The NCAA spends countless hours investigating whether a football player getting a tattoo for free constitutes a violation but in reality, the Penn State case is bigger than anything we've seen in recent years. Bigger than anything at USC, Miami, or Ohio State. And for that reason alone, both Joe Paterno and the University President should step down TODAY. All this happened on their watch, and in my opinion, they let it continue to happen. Firing them will NEVER get these children's' lives back but it may encourage other victims to come forward in this case or in other cases.
The future of our children is the most valuable commodity we have in society and it trumps everything else -- BCS standings, win and losses, national championships, or Joe Paterno's legacy. And the sad thing about this is all the things I just mentioned were placed at a higher value than the children. The actions of the people in charge at Happy Valley illustrate that point. And to say Joe Paterno did what the law said he should do is nonsense. Common decency tells us he should have done so much more.
Terrible story. Who should be punished and how?