ST. LOUIS -- The sight of Jose Reyes at shortstop for the Rockies against the Mariners could be a jarring one at Coors Field on Monday night.
For the last 10 seasons, fans have anticipated the brilliance of five-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki, or, more often than they'd care to remember, wondered when he'd make his return from injury. But with Tulowitzki wowing new fans with the Blue Jays, it's time to get to know Reyes -- a four-time All-Star in his own right. Unlike Tulowitzki, Reyes is well-traveled, playing for the Marlins, Mets and Blue Jays before being traded to the Rockies on July 27.
In the deal that sent Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto for Reyes, the Rockies also received Minor League right-handers Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco
Reyes, 32, and Tulowitzki, 30, have been linked in the past. In 2011, Tulowitzki led in fan voting for the starting lineup of the All-Star Game until the final days of voting when Reyes, then with the Mets, overtook him. Still, Reyes couldn't start because of injury, so Tulowitzki started.
Their names have been linked, but that's where the similarity ends. And Reyes is fine with that.
"I'm not going be Tulo," Reyes said. "We have a totally different game. My game is speed, making stuff happen. Tulo hits for power and there is a lot of stuff Tulo can do in the field. We're totally different."
So here's getting to know Reyes:
Get used to No. 7: Good thing the Rockies use traditional block numbers. In some of the avant garde fonts, 2's and 7's look similar. But the Rockies' presentation is clear, and Reyes is about three inches shorter than Tulowtizki and built like a speed guy, rather than a power guy.
Tulowitzki's number fits his name. As for Reyes, his digit just fits him. With the exception of a brief time in Class A, he's worn 7.
"I've been wearing that number a long time -- people say it's a 'Lucky 7,'" Reyes said. "There wasn't a player who wore it that I followed. I feel that number goes with me."
He has his own chant: During Tulowitzki's debut on Wednesday at Rogers Centre, when he homered and doubled twice in a win over the Phillies, fans struggled with the "Tulo" chant. It took some practice to get the rhythm down, evidently.
Reyes has a song, and there are no hand claps, so it's easier. If you're not familiar, throw in pretty much any world soccer match and listen to Ole,' Ole'-Ole'-Ole'.
"The fans, they always had the, 'Jose, Jose-Jose-Jose' chant, since New York," Reyes said. "I appreciate that. I know this is all new for me. And the fans in Denver are going to have a very god look at what Jose Reyes is all about the last two months of the season."
You can see it on his face: Tulo has a cool look -- the eye-black patches seem to bring out his expressions of intensity or, when things went wrong, disappointment. Reyes plays to win but has a different way of expressing joy -- with a smile.
With more clubhouse room in St. Louis than at Wrigley, where Reyes joined the club, Reyes dressed beside Carlos Gonzalez, and players gravitated. Of course, the Latin American players had someone else to speak to in Spanish, but American players such as Corey Dickerson and Brandon Barnes also joined in the conversations.
Some on-field actions have been criticized as showy or lackadaisical, but his intentions are neither.
"When it's time to be serious on the baseball field, I will, but I love to win," Reyes said. "It's just the way I play. I'm not thinking of pleasing the fans, because if you do that you're going to be in trouble. This game is performing and doing your job. But I mix joy, doing my job, energy, positive attitude."
"Every day, you're going to see the same Jose Reyes, if I go 0-for-50 or if I go 50-for-50. What you see now is what you're going to see every single day. I'm a very friendly guy, a happy guy,"
New song for your speakers: If you feel the need to delete "The Man" by Aloe Blacc from your playlist with Tulowitzki gone, then add Drake's "I Feel Blessed." Reyes had four different walkup songs in Toronto, but this is his fave.