That’s the face of a man who just learned the only team he’s ever played for in the Major Leagues traded him mid-game. Luckily for Wilmer Flores (I think), the deal fell apart and he is still a member of the New York Mets. When tears poured down his face, you couldn’t help but think about Tom Hanks’ iconic scene from A League of Their Own where Jimmy Dugan proclaims “There’s no crying in baseball!”
Seeing the waterworks flow down Flores’ face got me thinking, is it appropriate for a professional athlete to cry on the field? We’ve all seen tears of joy stream down a player’s face after they’ve won a championship, and tears of sadness when they’ve lost the big game. Then there’s that time Knowshon Moreno’s eyes turned into super soakers during the National Anthem, but normally you don’t see an athlete brought to tears mid-game. Off the top of my head I can’t think of the last time a player in any sport, for whatever reason, cried while they were on the field during a regular season game until Wilmer Flores last night.
If you skim through Twitter for Flores’ mentions or view the comments section of the YouTube videos of him crying (also known as the places where gutless internet tough guys anonymously say the most racist and inhumane things possible), you’ll find hundreds of people calling him a bitch, a pussy, or as @Met_Man_77 put it:
Wilmer Flores is a spoiled, untalented baby brat waste of roster space & everything wrong with #Mets baseball. Catapult him out of town.
— Met Man 77 (@Met_Man_77) July 30, 2015
The commentary isn’t all negative, though. To my surprise, it seems the majority of people weighing in on Wilmer Flores’ emotional night show empathy and support for the life-long Met. One fan admitted the Mets make him emotional on occasion, too:
I would like Wilmer Flores to know that I cry sometimes too, even in public, often because of the #mets.
— Thomas Hynes (@ThomasHynes) July 30, 2015
The overall sentiment I’ve gathered is that people believe Wilmer Flores loved playing for the Mets, so much so that it brought him to tears when he thought he would no longer be on the team. Say what you want to say about him, but the kid has heart. Whenever players are traded or released, the phrase “it’s a business” gets thrown around in professional sports. It may be a business, but there’s an emotional side to sports that isn’t often discussed, and I’m glad Wilmer Flores’ tears allows us as fans to weigh in on this topic.
I could babble on for hours, but let’s cut to the chase. It’s OK for professional athletes to get emotional and cry. Men don’t have to be oozing machismo every minute of the day. Every fan wants players on their favorite team to care half as much as Wilmer Flores does about being a part of the organization. Evidently there is crying in baseball, and there’s nothing wrong with it.