WASHINGTON -- Sandy Alderson can take into account the sabermetric value of having a leadoff hitter with Jose Reyes' career on-base percentage. He can question the sanity of a player in his late 20s who is dependent upon his legs getting a six- or seven-year deal if another team will go to that length once Reyes hits free agency.
Yet when the New York Mets' general manager decides whether to let Reyes walk as a free agent next offseason, or even to trade him before July 31, Alderson better take into account nights like Wednesday at Nationals Park too -- because there also is a value in having the type of energy and passion that Reyes displays when he is wearing a uniform.
With the Mets trailing by a run in the eighth inning Wednesday, Reyes rightfully delivered a one-out triple to the left-center gap. Instead, umpire Marvin Hudson ruled Reyes' hand had left the base while the tag was being applied. Replays suggested otherwise. Reyes went into a tizzy, and had to be escorted away by third base coach Chip Hale.
"The third baseman said, 'He came off of the base,'" Reyes said. "But I don't think [Hudson] ever got a good shot to look at my hand there. He listened to the third baseman and called me out. But my hand never came out of the base. Every time I slide I hold the base always with my hand."
Afterward, manager Terry Collins called it the signature win of the season, even though it merely pulled the Mets out of last place in the NL East. Left fielder Jason Bay noted all wins are not created equal, and these are the type of victories that propel teams to big things.
Starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, asked about Reyes' reaction, offered one word: "Justified."
"I went a little crazy there," a calm Reyes said with a smile at his locker after the Mets rallied. "It is what it is. I thought my hand never came out of the base."
Reyes, too, could not remember a win in the past few years this inspiring.
"This one is kind of exciting," he said. "I don't remember having one of those in a long time."
Nor could Reyes remember ever being that upset on a baseball field. Reminded he was pretty perturbed in Anaheim the day Jerry Manuel took over as manager in 2008 and tried to pull him from a game as a precaution, Reyes smiled and downplayed the relative angst then.
"Not even close," he said. "I think this one was more intense. That was good too. But this one was crazy. But that's OK. I'm good now."
Hale, the third base coach, said Hudson insisted Reyes' hand came off the base. Hale did not think so, but told the umpire that third baseman Jerry Hairston must have forced Reyes' hand off by applying excessive pressure if that were the case.
"And he just kept yelling, 'No, he didn't push him,'" Hale said. "I guess the replay showed he didn't even come off."
As for ultimately escorting Reyes away and keeping the situation from escalating as Collins took over the argument, Hale said: "Some good old basketball boxing-out practice. Some high school basketball."
Said third baseman David Wright: "I was glad that, A, he didn't get thrown out and, B, it didn't really escalate. I think everybody did a good job kind of keeping their cool."
That didn't stop Wright and teammates from poking fun at Reyes' excitement and his flopping hair after the Mets had taken the lead and secured the victory. Wright told Reyes he's "not that tough."
"Yeah, I've always said he's not very tough," Wright kidded afterward. "And I'm sticking to that. He's not very tough."
"Everybody's making fun of me," Reyes said.
As the media around Reyes' locker started to disperse following his postgame interview, second baseman Justin Turner started approaching his own locker, which is next to Reyes' stall in the visitors' clubhouse at Nationals Park.
"I'm not going to make him mad," Turner said. "I'll promise you that."