Major League ballplayers aren’t putting up with media criticism anymore. Not soon after the Rangers’ Milton Bradley went looking to rough-up a Royals announcer, the Mets’ Jose Reyes almost came to blows with color commentator Keith Hernandez.
The NEW YORK POST reports that an on-board scuffle was hastily avoided on the team’s charter plane last Sunday night, as the shortstop & SNY analyst “were close to exchanging punches until others stepped in.”
Reyes was angry over comments Hernandez made during his team’s 3-1 win over the Yankees on Sunday, in which Keith accused the Mets of “babying” Jose:
Hernandez’s “babying” comment was in response to Reyes throwing his glove to the ground moments after committing a throwing error in the seventh inning Sunday. Reyes said he threw his glove out of anger at himself and not in an effort to show up first baseman Carlos Delgado, who appeared to have a chance to catch the throw.
“Well, he’s got to get over that,” Hernandez said at the time, according to one transcript of the broadcast. “Enough babying going on now. He’s a grown man. He’s been around a long enough time. Take off the kid gloves.”
After he finished pouting, Jose confronted Keith that evening on the team’s charter flight to St. Louis. And Reyes wasn’t happy with Hernandez’s alleged follow-up:
According to one account, strongly denied by both Reyes and Hernandez, what set Reyes off during the flight was when Hernandez allegedly responded to Reyes’ concerns by saying: “I was just doing my job - you should do yours.”
Hernandez denies it ever came close to fisticuffs, saying the meeting between the two was a conversation, not a confrontation:
“I’ve had several conversations with players over my career,” Hernandez said. “Jose and I are fine. It was not a confrontational conversation, [but] what went on with our conversation is between Jose and I. If he told you, that’s his choice.”
But Reyes still doesn’t see things as smoothed over with Hernandez:
“I don’t know why in that situation he’s talking like that,” Reyes told The Post. “Like I said, I just [made] an error and I feel bad. I threw my glove down, but I [felt] bad because you’re not supposed to be giving extra outs to the other team.”
Keith shouldn’t have worried if punches were thrown. He could’ve just used some “Just For Men” to color out the blood stains in his hair.