The past few days there’s been a lot of speculation about where Cole Hamels will be traded or Johnny Cueto or David Price or dozens of other players as the clock ticked down to yesterday’s 4pm EST non-waiver trade deadline. While some trades will be made this month, the focus will now shift back to the results on the field and how all these moves will play out.
One trade or rather lack thereof, already paid dividends on the field last night. Wednesday night reports came out that the NY Mets had acquired OF Carlos Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers for INF Wilmer Flores and SP Zack Wheeler. The Mets were playing the SD Padres at home at Citi Field at the time the news was coming out with Flores playing shortstop. As the fans in the ballpark started becoming aware of the reports they started yelling things at Flores like “Good Luck in Milwaukee” or “Thanks for being here” things like that. However, no one from the Mets had informed Flores or Mets manager Terry Collins that the deal had been completed. So Collins kept Flores in the game and he was seen visibly emotional on the field, even resulting in a few tears. However, after the game Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced the trade had not and would not be happening.
Fast forward to last night. With the trade deadline having past and Flores still being a Met, he’s in the lineup playing second base. In the first inning he makes a terrific diving stop to his left and throws the batter out and the Mets fans gave him a standing ovation. They did it again when he came to the plate in the second inning and again when he singled in the game’s first run in the fourth. The game would go to extra innings and Flores came to the plate in the bottom of the twelfth inning. As fate would have it he would hit a game winning homer to left center field. Flores teammates leaped out of the dugout and mobbed Flores as he crossed home plate. The fans again gave Flores a standing ovation. From almost traded to hero in 48 hours, Hollywood couldn’t write a better story.
This is why we watch baseball. It’s the drama, the stories that nothing else can duplicate. Without the background Flores hit is just another homerun. But, with the backstory, it’s an amazing story of perseverance, of bouncing back from a tough situation. No matter how long you’ve been watching baseball, no matter how many games you’ve seen there is always a chance you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. Things that make you fall in love with the game all over again. Watching Flores last night is one of those moments, it’ll be fascinating to see what other moments will be made in the season’s last two months.