The Mets ended their 2011 season last Wednesday with an afternoon game against the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets won the game 3-0 to finish the season with a record of 77-85, two games worse than the team's 79-83 finish in 2010.
Despite another disappointing season, the mood at Citi Field wasn't all doom and gloom. Several fans held signs thanking the team and looking forward to 2010 with optimism. And before the game the team honored retiring groundskeeper Pete Flynn, who has been with the organization since their first-ever game at the Polo Grounds.
However, there was still the looming issue of Joses Reyes' expiring contract. Reyes is now a free agent, and it's unclear if the Mets, who are looking to cut payroll, not add to it, will be able to afford their superstar shortstop.
Last Wednesday, several fans held signs pleading with Mets management to do everything they can to keep Reyes.
Fans got a taste of what a Reyes-less Mets team would feel like, when Reyes, who reached first on a bunt in the bottom of the first inning, pulled himself from the game. And once third baseman David Wright left the game in the fourth, the Mets team on the field didn't include one marquee name. It barely included anyone who would be considered an everyday player on even an average Major League team.
Reyes left the game to give himself an edge in the race to lead the National League in batting average for the season. At the start of the day, Reyes' average was slightly higher than that of Ryan Braun of the Brewers.
With Reyes' successful bunt, Braun would have had to go 3-for-4 in the Brewers' last game that evening. It turned out he didn't get a hit at all, meaning Reyes likely had the title locked up even if he hadn't left the game.
His decision to leave the game was criticized in some circles, meaning that even this one bright spot in the Mets' season couldn't be handled without the hint of controversy.
Despite the disappointing record, the Mets season wasn't a complete disaster. After several injuries and the trade of outfielder Carlos Beltran, many young players in the Mets farm system got their chance to prove they can play in the Big Leagues.
And until September, the scrappy, rag-tag group the team fielded everyday provided some entertaining baseball. Let's hope the fans enjoyed watching them, because they will likely see a lot more of them next year.