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What You Tell Yourself

You would have had to say goodbye to him sometime. You know this.

In another universe, where Fred Wilpon never meets Bernie Madoff and Jeff Loria is a humble art dealer with no sports ambitions, you might have seen him for a few more years. You might have seen him leg out more triples in a Mets uniform, steal some more bases, execute some more joyous steps in the dugout. You would have seen age catch up to him, as it catches up to all athletes, as it catches up to all of us, and you would have seen his legs slow and his bat slow and his game change, and you would see him leave for elsewhere or retire. Even in the sunniest, Panglossian best of all possible worlds, you never could have had him forever. You know this.

Even if the Mets were in decent financial and competitive shape, they'd be unwise to match the contract he's getting. The likelihood of him staying healthy for the duration of that contract, or remaining with one team over those six years, is slim. The new front office regime is imposing the kind of painful but necessary fiscal sanity it should have adopted a long time ago. You know this.

The Mets have benefited from other teams' hard times over the past decade plus. Everyone from Mike Piazza to Johan Santana came here because someone else couldn't afford them. Perhaps it's only fair, only karma, that the Mets lose one every now and then, and decrying another team "buying" a roster would be the height of hypocrisy for you. You know this.

You consider your child, who knows only one baseball player, who thinks everyone with dreads is him, who has chanted his name at the ballpark, who has said to you more than once this offseason that she misses him. But she is still very young, still learning so much about the world and her place in it. She'll get over it. You know this.

You'll get over this too, someday, though the mere thought of this hurts. There is the pain of any loss, and then there is a moment during that pain when you realize time will pass and you will move on, which is a different pain altogether. That you lose people and you think the world is going to crumble without them but life goes on.

You've done it for other people in your life, people who helped raise you, people you couldn't imagine living without, until you had to. So you'll do it for Jose Reyes. You know this.