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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SOMEDAYS YOU’RE A PEACOCK, OTHER DAYS A FEATHER DUSTER

A very busy couple of days kept me away from here yesterday. It all started Tuesday morning. I had a 5:30 game that evening so I wanted to get my work done in the morning so I could take a couple of hours off. I get an e-mail from fellow BBA member, Daniel Shoptaw of C 70 at the Bat to see if I could pinch hit as host for the BBA Baseball Talk podcast that night. With my game at 5:30, there is a curfew of 2 hours after first pitch as we have no lights at the field where we play. The podcast was scheduled for 11PM so it all works out for me.

The way the game started for our team I thought it might even be an earlier night as there is a 10 run mercy rule after 5 innings. We were down 6-0 after 3 as our pitchers didn’t throw many strikes and the one’s they did were hit hard. After showing my annoyance with my offense for not being aggressive at the plate (“enough window shopping fellows, time to make purchase, swing the bats, next guy who takes a called third strike will need some big tweezers pull the splinters out of their butts”) they took my advice and got aggressive, that and the opposing pitcher getting gased, we get back in the game and make it 6-5 in the bottom of the 6th (we play 7 innings) and it’s getting darker and darker. Now to this point we have bases loaded two outs and as I say not much offense, I tell my runner on 3rd to get a good lead as he’s not being held and the pitcher is focused on the batter. First pitch, my runner goes more than half way down the line, and the pitch is a strike. When he gets back I tell him, if the ball gets past the catcher, run to the plate. Sure enough the next pitch is in the dirt, I scream to my runner (I coach 3rd base) GO! GO! GO! So he tears down the line and as he attempts his slide in the plate the catcher puts the tag right on his lead leg and is called out. Game over.

It took me a good half hour to leave the field. The kids were pissed off and I told them this loss is on me, I told him to run and if you guys want to be mad at anyone be mad at me. I know one of my other coaches wasn’t happy with my decision and I’m sure some of the parents weren’t happy either but to tell you the truth I don’t care. I play aggressive and sometimes it works sometime it bites you in the ass, so Tuesday night I had a sore ass.

Now by the time I get home, it dawns on me, “oh shit, I’ve got to host the BBA Podcast.” So I scramble to get some material together and at 11PM Daniel and I are on the air. Check out the show here I think it went pretty good for two guys pinch hitting at the last minute.

So yesterday I took a mental health day as my managerial decisions were still driving me crazy.

Metsermized online has a great must read post on the events of April 22, 1970, the day Tom Seaver struck out 19 San Diego Padres, the last 10 batters in a row. How fitting is it that The Franchise is in town to help inaugurate the new Mets Alumni Association where former Mets players from all eras of Mets history will be on hand at $iti Field and also represent the Mets at community events. I’m ecstatic over this new Met Alumni Association because, it’s long over due and the initiative of the association of having former Mets on hand at the ball park and having them rep the organization at events has been something I’ve been advocating for some time. Maybe someone in the front office is reading this stuff if they are, thank you. 

Looks like my projection of Carlos Beltran coming back to the lineup around the All Star break now looks like an optimistic view.

If Mets fans want to be ignorant enough to boo David Wright that’s there prerogative, but as bad as Wright has looked at the plate the last week, I still believe if Jason Bay and the suddenly ice cold Frenchy could start getting productive it would help Wright. No doubt the middle of the batting order is not very productive right now and maybe it’s time for a big shake up like say, moving Wright to the lead off spot and Reyes to the 3 hole? Then move Castillo to 8 and Pagan to 2 ? The lineup would look like this:

Wright

Pagan

Reyes

Bay

Francouer

Davis

Barajas

Castillo

Pitcher

All this is moot if you have a healthy Beltran and a productive Bay, in fact with both those player in the lineup and productive with the very good pitching the team has gotten early, the 6-9 record the Mets have would be no worse than 9-6 or 10-5 and with the Phillies at 9-5 in first place, Mets fans would be in a much better state of mind.

Ryota Igarhashi going down with a strained hammy is a killer right now. I guess Tobi Stoner can’t be called back up for 10 days from the time he was sent down so it looks like we’re stuck with Manny Acosta.

Now that we know Carlos Beltran is a couple of months away from rejoining the lineup, can we please give GMJ his release and bring up Chris Carter ?

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