(Wilmer Flores just Johnson-to-Johnson'ed Tom Hanks. No more tears here.)
Trade deadlines are a brutal reality in professional sports, and Wilmer Flores wants nothing to do with it. Ten days ago, on July 29, the 24-year-old Venezuelan second baseman was in tears about the possibility of leaving his beloved New York Mets—a club that he has been with since he was 16 years old. But after a no-deal in what would have been a swap for the Milwaukee Brewers' Carlos Gomez, Flores has paid back his team. In insane dividends.
On July 31, two days after the deal fell through, Flores hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning against Washington that would eventually lead to a sweep of Nationals that landed the Mets in first place.
And that's just the beginning. Since then, Flores has helped the Mets secure an extremely rare lead in the NL East this past week. Yesterday—with fans chanting his name and gaving him a standing ovation in an away game 1,000 miles from Citi Field—Flores slotted a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning of a 4-3 comeback win against the Tampa Bay Rays, giving the Mets a two-and-a-half game lead over the Nationals in the division. Nasty.
What, with his OPS running at .870 in the six games since the night he was caught crying on TV, the man is a sabermetric wet dream. He's rounding more bases than the cool kid at summer camp.
Flores sees your hanky, and he wants nothing to do with it.