Where Have You Gone Juan Uribe?
Unless you want to wax poetic about Indians First Base Coach Sandy Alomar, Jr.‘s eight game stint in 2007 with the Mets to close out his career, there is no real connection for Mets fans to the players and coaches from either team. There isn’t much of a connection between these two teams because Juan Uribe was released by the Indians on August 5th of this year.
It is a shame too because Uribe was a fun player to watch. He was the rare player that seemingly brought more to the table than just his statistics. He was a clubhouse leader from the moment he stepped foot in Flushing, and he knew how to keep a team loose. It was one thing he has prided himself on with him saying, “The one thing I can do is be a good teammate. Players are your family. I just try to be the same guy every day. You play good, you play bad, be the same guy.” (northjersey.com).
There were great stories with him joking around with David Wright about when he was going to come back to the Mets. There were stories of him breaking out the cigars after a win. He was the guy who was blasting Backstreet Boys in the clubhouse to the amusement of his teammates. He was also the guy who chided teammates for watching football over baseball in the clubhouse. Uribe was a guy that keeps baseball fun for everyone around him.
Still, Uribe was more than a character, he was a baseball player, who had a positive impact on the field. Right from the beginning, Uribe made an impression with the Mets. In his third at-bat with the team, he had a walkoff single off the left-center field wall to get the Mets a split with the Dodgers:
Overall, he did a great job filling in for the injured Wright, and he accepted his part as a bench player down the stretch. Unfortunately for him, he would have a cartilage issue with his chest that would prevent him from playing in the NLDS or the NLCS. He worked hard to be able to play again, and Uribe would actually make his way onto the World Series roster. The reward for his hard work was a pinch hit RBI single in his only World Series plate appearance:
Uribe earned that chance, and he made the most of it. In many ways, it is hard to believe the Mets would have even been in that position without his leadership and play on the field.
Even with him being cut by the Indians, his fingerprints are all over that team as well.
Jose Ramirez, the player who took over third base from Urib said, “I always mess around with him and call him Dad. I respect him a lot. (cleveland.com). Like the proud Dad Uribe was purported to be, he was always generous with the younger players as Ramirez said, “He has so much experience and he wants to transmit that to the younger players.”
On of the longest tenured Indians, Carlos Santana, said, “Uribe is good to have around. He gives the team good energy.”
Francona noted despite Uribe’s histrionics, he’s a “calming influence” in the clubhouse saying, “He’s always smiling. He goes, ‘Hey, play me when you want. Just tell me where to go.’ He’s been there and done it many times. I know that when he talks, they listen. Everybody enjoys him. I mean, how could you not?”
Certainly, the Mets and Mets fans enjoyed Uribe when he was in New York. Even when Uribe is not around, you can see the effect he has had on another team that is playing for the World Series. Even though he will get a ring with an Indians World Series victory, it is a shame he will not be on the field or in the dugout to celebrate with a team he left an indelible impression. It is a shame Uribe never caught on with another team at the end of the 2016 season.
Baseball is better when Uribe is around, and his presence alone makes teams better. Even if it is not as a player, we should all hope that Uribe finds his way into an organization in some capacity in 2017. Hopefully, that will be with the Mets.