* Despite another injury setback for Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes, his agent Chris Leible (and godfather to two of his daughters) knows the always-positive Reyes will persevere. .... 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors 2015 Canadian draft list
By Bob Elliott
St. PETERSBURG -- The Godfather watched from northern New Jersey on Monday.
And The Godfather felt helpless.
As a wise man once said, “we are nothing without our health.”
And on Monday afternoon, opening day of all days, Jose Reyes was without 100% health again.
The Blue Jays shortstop dunked a ball into centre to open the 2014 season.
One of those in-between tweeners.
Tampa Bay Rays centre fielder Desmond Jennings charged hard and looked like he would dive.
This was either going to be a ball trapped for a single on a hop or an out.
Or could it bounce past Jennings to the wall?
Reyes pulled up before Jennings even caught the ball.
The Godfather, Chris Leible, Reyes’s agent with The Legacy Agency, admitted “I’m always thinking triple with Jose.”
Jennings dove to make the catch.
And then ...
Then, the replay showed Reyes pulling up.
Both Leible and his father, Michael, saw the same images and spoke at the same time.
“Oh no, oh no,” said the father.
“Oh no,” said the son. “My father looks at Jose as his third son.”
Leible is The Godfather to two of Reyes' three daughters, Katherine, nine, and Joselin, five.
And why not Ashley (seven)? “You know I have lots of friends,” said Reyes on Tuesday night outside the Blue Jays clubhouse at Tropicana Field.
Blue Jays fans saw one of the most entertaining players in franchise history at his best ... healthy, wealthy and speedy ... for all of 10 games last year.
And this year? Not even one at-bat. He suffered the hamstring injury during spring training, returned to the lineup, started both games in Montreal and poof, there he was again on the disabled list.
This is a man who wears an Under Armour body suit with a Super Man logo on it, carries 9% body fat and is now felled again by a hamstring.
“It’s awful, no one works harder than this guy,” said Leible. “He has a one-track mind. Baseball is everything. Every time I saw him this winter, he said ‘I can’t wait for the start of spring, I can’t wait for opening day.’ And he is saying this in the middle of the worst winter any of us can remember.
“All the preparation, all the training sessions he has done. He has such tunnel vision he has to be ready, wants to be ready. It was tough to see him go down.”
That slide on that sunny Sunday afternoon in Kansas City last year was a fluke injury. When he returned, he wasn’t at 100%. He stole 15 bases, 10 in 83 games after the injury .
He has played more than 134 games once in the past five seasons.
“Certain body types are susceptible to hamstring injuries,” said Leible. “Rickey Henderson was famous for having these kinds of problems. Athletes like Jose have that lean muscle, he has an exceptionable burst of speed.”
Leible spoke to Reyes Monday night.
“He was very disappointed, but encouraged that it wasn’t a big problem, he needs rest,” Leible said. “I told him, ‘It’s a long season, let’s get it healed let it get better,’”
And the two spoke on Tuesday afternoon.
“Jose is such a positive person, it’s disheartening,” said Leible. “We’ve been together 14 years. I’ve seen his different emotions. He was sad Monday but feels OK and was walking on Tuesday. He won’t do much for a few days.”
When the two met, Reyes didn’t speak English. Leible didn’t speak Spanish. The agent wed a woman named Wileydi, and they visited Reyes’ Long Island house for dinner.
“My wife is from the Dominican, and as we’re driving home she said ‘I always wondered how you guys were so close when you are polar opposites, what’s the connection? I was talking to Jose’s wife and looked at you guys sitting on the couch talking. You were the same.’”
Leible got his start in the game as an intern, working for the New York Mets, coordinating scouting reports under former scouting director Roland Johnson, and then moved to the P.R. department, learning from the legendary duo of Jay Horwitz and Shannon Forde. In 1999, agent Peter Greenberg asked Leible to work for him and his brother Edward.
The Leibles had their first son, Cane, 2 1/2 years ago.
Reyes was asked to be the Godfather and accepted.
This Godfather, wearing the Super Man undershirt, like the other one on Monday, felt helpless as the Jays played the Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of the season on Tuesday night.