Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pics of the Week

On Wednesday night, Wilmer Flores was visibly teary-eyed
while playing what he thought was his final game with the Mets,

On Friday night he hit a walk-off home run and got his
fourth standing ovation of the game.

I daresay this was a week Wilmer Flores will never forget.

Flores, an infielder who turns 24 next week, has spent his entire professional career with the New York Mets, with whom he signed at age 16 out of Venezuela, It has not been a distinguished major league career; his lifetime batting average is .246, and although he has had the bulk of the playing time at shortstop this year, his defensive skills at the position are lacking.

Then came Wednesday and the trade that wasn't.

Flores was supposedly part of a multi-player deal with the Milwaukee Brewers that was to bring Carlos Gomez to the Mets. The trade was widely reported on social media as the Mets played the Padres, and word reached Flores, who was seen wiping away tears even as manager Terry Collins kept him in the game. Flores got a warm ovation from the home crowd as he took what everybody assumed was his final at-bat with the Amazin's.

Then, after the game, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson dumbfounded everybody: There was no trade for Gomez, There wasn't going to be a trade for Gomez. Not then, not on Thursday, not on Friday. (Collins on leaving Flores in the game: "I've been sobbing in the third inning before. Nobody takes me out of the game.")

There was, and remains, speculation on what happened to the trade. Gomez's hip scared the Mets off. Or the cash-strapped Mets ownership wouldn't accept Go-Go's contract. Or (largely dismissed) the Brewers were concerned about the elbow of pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery earlier this year.

Whatever: No trade. Flores remains a Met. And on Friday, he drove in a run in the fourth inning and hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the 12th against the Washington Nationals. Of course, he got a standing ovation for that bit of heroics. But he'd had three already that day.

A few tears at the idea of leaving the Mets, and Flores is now everybody's favorite at Citi Field.

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