In 2011, Jose Reyes pulled himself out of baseball game at the end of a season in order to preserve his league-leading batting average. Prominent baseball writers decried this gutless move, declaring Reyes to be yellow-bellied. This past Sunday, it seemed that cowardly act was being repeated. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve came into the day leading the league with a .340 batting average, and he wasn’t in the starting lineup for the final game of the season.
This time, however, it was not the player himself bowing out. Instead, the Astros brass made the decision to sit Altuve, in the hopes of their organization gaining its first batting title. The desire to secure something to be excited about after yet another lousy season was clearly strong.
However, Altuve was having none of it. He spoke up and requested that he be allowed to play, so as to earn the batting crown.
You can’t play the game the right way if you don’t play, and Jose Altuve played the game the right way. He was rewarded for his efforts, going 2-4 to end the season with a league-best .341 average. Take note, Jose Reyes. This is the opposite of yellow-bellied.