An amazing drama unfolded at Citi Field last night. In the NY Mets crucial game against the rival Nationals, Wilmer Flores the NY Mets shortstop got a standing ovation every time he came up to bat. What was behind this out pouring of love given to a light hitting shortstop by 40,000 plus NY baseball fans?
Two nights earlier Flores had cried openly in the field. He had shown vulnerability.
The back story is that the Mets are the only team he has played for since being signed out of Venezuela at 16. After being told by a fan (awkward social media moment) that he had been traded to the Padres, the weight of the moment became too much and his emotions came to the surface.
And Baseball’s backstory is that of a traditionally macho , stoic, and manly sport. Baseball is rife with unwritten laws. The famous quote “There’s no crying in baseball” is one of the most famous.
So what happened next? The trade didn’t go through. Flores is still on the Mets. And in his first action since he showed his vulnerability, the Mets fans seemed to send as clear a message as if it had been spelled out on the Big Screen Scoreboard:
“You opened your heart and showed your love of the Mets, you are now one of us. We love you.” Multiple full throated standing ovations.
The love fest crescendoed in the bottom of the 12th inning when the new crowd favorite delivered a game winning home run to win the game.
Tears of joy likely flowed, and “There’s no crying in baseball” was safely tucked away as a rigidly masculine relic of the past.