(CNN) It’s a level of emotion rarely seen in regular-season sport.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, down 7-2 to the San Diego Padres, New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores approached the plate to an uncharacteristic level of applause, given the circumstances.
Citi Field had turned into a rumor mill, and fans had gotten word that the Venezuelan-born 23-year-old, who the Mets had signed on his 16th birthday, was being dealt along with pitcher Zack Wheeler to the Milwaukee Brewers for center fielder and onetime Met, Carlos Gomez.
“Nice big hand for Wilmer Flores as he comes to bat,” said play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen, calling the game for Sports New York. “Most of these fans know that Wilmer’s about to get traded. Social media being such these days, everyone knows what the situation is. It’s a little odd that Wilmer’s still in the game.”
Turns out, it wasn’t so odd, as Flores had not been traded at all.
Still, he appeared forlorn in the dugout after grounding out. He took the field in the top
of the eighth with moist cheeks and red puffy eyes, as his teammates tossed the ball around the diamond. He wiped his nose and upper lip on his glove, and at one point, took off his cap and wiped both eyes on his sleeves.
“You’ve got a player who’s been in your organization for seven years, who you valued, who you are trading clearly to bring back an important asset, and the fact that he’s out there risking injury at a time when you’re trying to consummate the trade is strange in itself. But for him to be that emotional and out on the field just strikes me as odd,” Cohen said.
It’s not clear exactly how the rumor began, but it was widely reported by several new outlets, including The New York Times, which said it had received word of the trade from a high-ranking team executive.
Calling it “one of the more surreal nights in the history of the Mets,” The Times speculated that it could have been a health problem that sunk the trade, as baseball trades aren’t official until all medical issues have been reviewed by the teams making the trade.