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Jose Reyes, unplugged.

December 16, 2009

Today on WFAN, Mike Francesa interviewed Jose Reyes in studio for about one hour.  The entire interview can be heard at WFAN.com, and touched on topics ranging from his health, the Philadelphia Phillies, his thoughts on Jason Bay, relationship and/or feud with Willie Randolph, and how he can improve his game. 

Some highlights/quotables from the interview can be found after the jump.

– Reyes says he feels no pain, and will be ready by Opening Day. He said this most recent injury is different from ones he suffered early in his career and having the surgery was the best decision he ever made.

– He said last season was “very hard,” because, ‘”I’m the guy who loves this team, this game, and I’ve been playing baseball my whole life.’”  He said he did everything possible to be back on field.

– Reyes said he is aware of this report in the New York Times, accusing his Canadian doctor of being involved in HGH.  According to Reyes, he only received plasma treatment from the accused doctor, ‘that is all,’ he did not receive any drugs, including HGH.  He was very adamant about only receiving plasma treatment. 

– Reyes said, “Jerry Manuel, he’s a great guy, when you do something wrong he comes to you and explains to you what you did.  He’s a teacher in addition to being a manager.”

– He seemed  shocked at rumors that he did not get along with Willie Randolph, who Reyes referred to as a “father figure, who only wanted the best for me.”  He said he was behind Willie “100 percent,” even when Randolph pulled him from the game in Houston. 

– Reyes is happy with how his career has progressed, saying, “I have good numbers for a shortstop,” but, “I can get better… I think sometimes I try to get too aggressive at home plate and I swing at too many bad pitches, but I’m getting better and better at that… I want to be more patient.”

– When asked about why certain players and teams dislike him, and his handshakes, Reyes said every team in the big leagues does handshakes like he does with his teammates.  He does it to keep the energy up with this teammates, adding, “I try to keep it fun.”  He said he doesn’t do it to bother the other team, he does it for the Mets.  He says he has no interest in changing who he is.

– He says Carlos Delgado had been the leader of the team the last few seasons.  Jason Bay is a ‘good guy,’ and ‘a very good player’ and reminded listeners that they were teammates in the Mets minor league system.  He said David Wright is a superstar, a ‘great guy,’ and a leader in the clubhouse.  He said they are close friends.  Reyes believes Wright will return to hitting 30 home runs next season.

– “I love it,” he said, when asked about New York City.  “You have to play hard, day in and day out and if you do that they’re gonna love you.”  He said he doesn’t mind booing because “it just means I’m not doing my job.”  His best day on the Mets, he said, was when they clinched the NL East in 2006.  His worst day was the final day of 2007.

– Reyes said he is the hardest-working player on the team and doesn’t know why people would doubt his work ethic; he is at the ballpark at 2 pm, every day, working hard before every game.

– He said he enjoys watching Hanley Ramirez, who is a very good friend of his, and Dustin Pedroia, who he said plays hard. 

– Reyes said he used to crush Jon Leiber, when asked to name a pitcher he always had success against; while it is very difficult to face A.J. Burnett, against whom he does not have a hit.  He said Citizen’s Bank Park is his favorite stadium to hit in and Petco in San Diego is his least favorite. 

– Reyes did not like seeing the Phillies win a World Series in 2007.  He doesn’t understand why the Phillies  talk about him, and his antics, when Shane Victorino does the same thing.  “They win the World Series, and they’re talking about us, they say, ‘They get Santana, and don’t even win.’  He acknowledged, with a huge smile on his face, that the Phillies do not like him.  He said that Jimmy Rollins is a great player, but implied that he was better. 

Great interview, and tremendous job by Francesa.  Honestly, one of the best interviews I have ever heard on WFAN.  Jose Reyes is one of the top 5 most talented players in baseball but has let a lot of Met fans down because he has yet to reach his full potential.  While I have been critical of the young shortstop, I must say he really showed me a lot in this interview with regards to his work ethic and love for the game.  Hopefully his return to the lineup in 2010 will turn the Mets franchise and their recent ineptitude around.

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