Strawberry to Reyes: Stay in New York

Darryl Strawberry has some advice for Jose Reyes: Stay in New

York.

Reyes can become a free agent after the season, so he might be

playing his final few games with the Mets. Strawberry, the club’s

career leader in home runs and RBIs, was in a similar position back

in 1990 as a homegrown star about to hit the open market in his

prime.

Fed up with management, Strawberry bolted to sign with his

hometown team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made his eighth and

final All-Star squad the following year before his career was

derailed by drugs, alcohol and legal trouble.

”It’s a tough situation to be in. I know if I had to do it all

over again, I would have stayed,” Strawberry said. ”It looks good

on the other side, but it’s not always as good as a place that

you’re used to. When you’re young, you don’t realize that. For me,

I was young and didn’t realize what New York meant to me. Tell Jose

I said New York is a great place. I mean, a great place. No matter

what, it’s a great place to play. No matter what you have to go

through, how difficult it gets, this is the place where you want to

play.”

So does that mean Strawberry thinks Reyes should take less money

than he could get elsewhere to remain with the cash-strapped

Mets?

”I’m not getting into that,” Strawberry said with a smile,

drawing laughs. ”I did not say that. I have nothing to do with

that. All I can say is, I would love to see him stay in New York.

New York loves him and Met fans love him. Former players love him,

love the way he plays. And I just hope that things work out for

both sides and he can continue to play here.”

Strawberry, the 1983 NL Rookie of the Year, helped lead the Mets

to their last World Series title in 1986. He also won championship

rings with the New York Yankees in 1996, ’98 and ’99. He was at

Citi Field on Saturday to unveil his All-Stars for Charities Fruit

Snacks, with sales helping the Darryl Strawberry Foundation’s Fight

for Autism.

”It’s a different type of feeling after you’ve played here for

so long and you’ve been successful here. Being successful here,

they appreciate it a little bit more than anywhere else you go,”

he said. ”You’re just another player in other places, but the fans

here never forget. The legacy that you leave for yourself here,

it’s incredible. And Jose has a chance to do that. He’s a

remarkable player. He’s had some wonderful, wonderful years, done

some wonderful things and he still has a chance to do some greater

things before his career is all over.

”It’s a place that cares about him, and that’s what you’ve got

to look at. The fans deeply care about him. You look around and you

see people wearing No. 7. That speaks for itself.”

Reyes has politely sidestepped most questions about his future

all year, saying he doesn’t want to be distracted on the field.

After the season is over, the speedy shortstop will turn his

attention to free agency.

”Everything is a consideration,” Reyes said. ”Like I always

say, I don’t want to leave here. I want to stay.”

Strawberry also said he has spoken with former Mets teammate

Gary Carter, who is battling brain cancer.

”It’s a real struggle for him. He’s battling. He’s not

quitting. He’s fighting. He’s fighting for his life,” said the

49-year-old Strawberry, a colon cancer survivor. ”Now he’s in the

biggest battle of his life. You just continue to pray for him and

your thoughts are with him and his family at this time, and

hopefully there’s a miracle. Because sometimes you need a miracle.

I’ve had a few miracles and I just hope and wish that Gary has

his.”