Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday's Musings on Sports - Sense, Sentimentality, Sensitivty - Moshe and the Mets

Over the course of the last week there has been a great deal written about the Mets' Wilmer Flores and his tearing up in Wednesday Night's Mets game. And with all due deference to Tom Hanks, there is nothing wrong with crying in baseball.

Even if you don't follow baseball, there was no way to avoid the Wilmer Flores story last week. In case you were living under a rock - here is a brief synopsis. Flores is a 23 year old Venezuelan born player who signed with the Mets as an international free agent at the age of 16.Since signing with the Mets, he has steadily worked his way up through the Mets minor league system and this year earned some regular playing time with the big league club.

As the Mets (perpetually) have issues with lack of production from the outfield, the Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers worked out a trade in principle in which Flores and injured pitcher Zack Wheeler would have been traded for All Star Outfielder Carlos Gomez. Although the trade was never completed, during Wednesday Night's game, certain Mets writers tweeted that the deal was done. But since the deal was never actually pulled off, the Mets did not remove Flores from the game (they would have to if he was no longer Mets property). They also did not tell Flores.

So as the game progressed, the fans in the stands started to tell Flores that he had been traded and they gave him a standing ovation. But since he was still in the game, the stress started to wear away at him and he began to tear at the thought of being traded from the only organization he ever knew.

When I went to daf at 945 that night my friend Jim S remakred to me that it was the strangest thing that he had ever seen - as the Mets had left Flores in after the deal was done. I told him that the deal must not have gone through because the Mets could not play Flores if he had been traded away. Don't get me wrong - I am not a prophet (or the son of a prophet) but it is fairly obvious that a player can't play for a team that no longer owns his rights.

The following day there were two Wilmer Flores themed stories in the media - one that ridiculed him for crying (and comparing him to that scene from A League of Their Own). The second story ridiculed the Mets for not completing the deal.

But a funny thing happened to Wilmer and the Mets. Two days later, Flores (still a Met) hit the game winning HR against the Nationals (the team who the Mets at the time were chasing for 1st Place) and the Mets went out and got a better Outfielder - Yoenis Cespedes, without giving up Wheeler or Flores. And they have not lost since.

The fans show of support for Flores and his sensitivity and sentimentality made me think of a vort I heard from R' Mansour a few years back on Parshas Vaeschanan. In the beginning of the parsha, after Moshe prays his 515th prayer to enter the land of Israel, Hashem says to him in Devarim 3:26 - "Rav Lach" - it is too much for you.

I can't remember the source he brought, but R' Mansour said that the statement from Hashem to Moshe was actually rebuke. He compared the statement to Moshe telling Korach and his followers in Bamidbar 16:7 - Rav Lachem - you (Korach and his follower) - it is too much for you,.

The mussar being said to Moshe was - never tell another Jew that his aspiration for greater holiness, even if motivated by a desire, is "too much." Be sensitive towards their desire to grow and find another way to set them straight.

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