Being Beltran

 

Carlos Beltran, another former Mets fan lighting rod returns to Flushing for the first time since he was traded to the Giants last summer and his return has stirred Mets fans passions. I never could understand the ire of Mets fans toward Beltran. Yes I know that called 3rd strike from Adam Wainright (tonight’s Cards starting pitcher by the way) has stuck in many a Mets fan craw but what the critics forget is Beltran  made a major contribution in that series hitting at .296/.387/.667 clip with 3 HR’s. It just added to his outstanding season, one of the best season ever by a Mets player where Beltran bashed 41 HR’s drove in 144 runs and complied a robust .982 OPS, good for a 4th place finish in the MVP voting plus a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award as well.

I’ve always felt Beltran’s disconnect with the Mets fan base was due to his mistrust of the front office that was in place during the bulk of Beltran’s tenure as a Met. It’s quite interesting that the front office had Latino‘s in top management positions, yet they did not mesh well with two of the best players on the team Beltran and Carlos Delgado, both men who are held in high esteem in the Latin community. Beltran never had a great relationship with Omar Minaya as proven with the botched medical care the Mets GM presided over when Beltran had to go on his own to Colorado to see a specialist to deal with his deep bone bruise in his knee and Beltran has said on many occasions that he never felt respected by the club. It wasn’t until Terry Collins took over as manager of the Mets that Beltran felt comfortable and respected as a Met.  I have no doubt that Beltran’s Mets career would be looked at in a much more positive light if Terry Collins was his manager from day one.

Beltran was never a problem or embarrassment to this organization. The P.R. debacle of the missed trip to Walter Reed Hospital was handled terribly by the Mets.  That and the medical mess ups really made Beltran become withdrawn. The Mets should have been in front of the missed trip to Walter Reed by explaining  that Beltran’s return to Puerto Rico to open a school he helped build was scheduled long before the Walter Reed trip was planned. A player should have the confront knowing that the organization has his back and would have a simple explanation instead of adding to the cluster fuck the Walter Reed trip became. Never would something like this happen today with this administration running the Mets.

Mets fans hold a grudge as well against Beltran because of the rumor that his agent Scott Boras called the Highlanders while negotiating with the Mets, offering Beltran’s service to the Bronx Bastards for less money.  It irked me too. But when you look at the seven year career Beltran had with the Mets he had one of the greatest careers of any Met in history.

If fans want to boo Beltran tonight that’s their prerogative but before they do I would hope they look at Beltran’s career numbers with the Mets and remember that he also would buy a suit for every minor leaguer who came up to the team so they had clothes to wear on the road and that he had David Wright and Jose Reyes join him at his home in the winter to workout with him when he first joined the club. Unfortunately to the narrow minded, none that means anything and for that you can’t blame Beltran.

 

 

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CARLOS BELTRAN HAS LEFT, BUT THE METS HAVE ARRIVED

The sad part of the Mets career of Carlos Beltran was just when he was enjoying being a NY Met and having the fan base sing praise and glory to his name, it was time to go. Just when he felt secure that the front office and the field manager were 100 % behind him and treated him with the respect he deserved, it was time to go.  With all the retrospect of Beltran’s career as a Met and with all the high (and deserved) praise that Beltran has received this season the bottom line is, it was time to go.  

Beltran lived up to the hype and money of his 7 year deal. I love the irony displayed by many in the fan base, the same ones who vilified Beltran for taking a third strike in the 2006 NLCS (forgetting he hit .296/.387/.667 with 3 home runs against the Cardinals in that series) and labeled him soft even after the horrific collision he had with Mike Cameron in San Diego on August 11th 2005 and returned to action on August  17th , just missing six games.

Beltran was not betrayed just by the fans but by ownership and the previous front office as well. When it came to handling the serious knee injuries he suffered, the training staff, GM and owner botched things so badly that Beltran felt he had to go and get his knees worked on his own. When he found a doctor who told him he needed surgery and he needed it now, Beltran and his agent Scott Boras went through all the proper channels to get medical clearance from the Mets doctors (who get wrongfully maligned) and the trainer and GM to get the right insurance papers signed, it was the GM (who has always been portrayed as a standup guy but really wasn’t) that tried to spin it as Beltran going rogue.

I’ve always felt that Beltran had this reserved way about him due to his mistrust and mistreatment by the former GM, managers and the owner. It wasn’t until Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins showed him the veteran respect he had earned that he felt more like a vital part of the team. In return, Beltran was able to be as productive as he was as he knew the days of bullshit artists running the team were over.  

Alderson and Collins saw just how hard Beltran worked to get back in shape to get back on the playing field. Collins saw Beltran strap on that knee brace game after game and fighting the manager whenever he wanted to give him a day off. It’s a simple situation, when players see a manager have their back, they will run through hot coals for him or in Beltran’s case thank him for his trust and belief in him by being the star baseball player that he is.

Sandy Alderson did what he had to do, at the age of 34, on the last year of his deal and with a knee that will never get better and a team while playing good and inspired baseball that will not be a post season participant, trading Beltran to a team in the post season hunt made tons of sense. The fact that Alderson got back exactly what he wanted in Zack Wheeler, a top pitching prospect, makes it all the better.

We will all miss Beltran and his familiar “El Esta Aqui” walk up song but don’t feel sorry for Beltran. He joins a team on which he will make a difference and a team that has strong pitching that is built for the post season. Hopefully the Giants repeat and Beltran gets a World Series ring.

As for Mets fans, anyone who feels this team is not worthy of buying a ticket to watch at Citi Field or to follow on SNY and WFAN, just admit to yourself you’re not a Mets fan. How could you call yourself a Mets fan and not be thrilled with the play of this 2011 edition?  The last two seasons the cry from Metsaptania was “play the kids, play the kids, we want the kids” Well, the kids are here and the kids are all right. Sure not being in a pennant race sucks but when you have a team that plays hard, never quits, handles adversity great, you should be proud of that team. Stop listening and reading the NYC MSM who for some reason (ownership maybe?) tries to focus on the blemishes of this team. Those same media types will be jumping on the Mets bandwagon in the next year or two when the Mets are fighting for a post season berth. This Beltran deal hurts the MSM because it was a positive for the Mets and finally not since Frank Cashen and his bow tie ran this club has a GM made as much an impact as Sandy Alderson has on the Mets. Don’t forget Terry Collins as well, who has not only shown that a man can learn from his past failures but he has shut up the We Want Wally Backman Teabaggers as well. As much as I was a Backman fan, there is no way he could have done any better than Collins has done this year.

There is a bit of a 1984 feeling around Flushing these days and if next year has a 1985 feeling, well, all you folks not going to Citi Field will be shit out of luck next year when Citi Field will be THE place to be and your ass can’t find a seat to sit in.

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