Who says Carlos Beltran is not a leader? Last night Keith Hernandez said, "Just because you have a fiery personality, it does not make you a leader". He was referring to Carlos Beltran when he said it, and it’s not the first time our former team captain referred to Beltran as a leader in the clubhouse.
Beltran has taken a long time to become a fan favorite, mostly due to an injury marred first season. However, he has been a leader in the clubhouse from day one. Carlos doesn’t jump up and down when a call doesn’t go his way, or throw bats onto the field when he’s called out on strikes, or smash the water cooler when he disagrees with his manager, or complain to the press when he has a problem. Some may think that’s leadership, but it certainly is NOT.
Carlos Beltran does his leading with his bat and with his experience. He leads when he sits down and puts his arm around David Wright last April when he was mired in a power slump and told him to stop swinging for the fences. He leads when the Mets were in a mini slump last season and made everyone shave their head. He leads when he tells Mike Pelfrey to stop trying to impress and start doing the things that got him here. He leads when he sits down with Jose Reyes this week and tells him we want the old Jose Reyes back. He leads when he launches a game winning homerun or makes one of his numerous game saving catches.
Those are the things that leaders do.
Christian Red of the Daily News shares even more about the leadership of Carlos Beltran in an article that appeared today.
He stirred up spring training with his "team to beat" boast. Before Tuesday’s win against the Nationals, he gave a pep talk to teammate Jose Reyes, encouraging the shortstop to return to his dancing, wildly celebrating self.
"I had a conversation with Reyes. I said, ‘Don’t change.’ When he’s doing that, jumping around, we like it. We’re happy," Beltran said at his locker last night. "He’s a fun guy. We’re happy he’s dancing. We don’t care if other teams get offended. That’s part of the game."
Beltran used to take all the things he heard and read about him to heart. The remarks that he was not a leader cut like a knife. He couldn’t believe that New Yorkers expected their leaders to scream and shout and jump up and down with their hair on fire. That was not what he was about and it took a couple of years for Beltran to reconcile that.
“I used to care about what people said about me and what kind of player I am. I don’t care about that anymore. I know that every day I do whatever I can to help the team win. And even if I go 0 for 4, not that I ever want to go 0 for 4, I come home and see my baby girl, see my wife, I feel like I never went 0 for 4. I never thought that could happen.”
Carlos Beltran helped put the Mets back on the baseball map after years of obscurity. He was there to help usher in the era of David Wright and Jose Reyes. His soft spoken nature led many to believe that he had no fire in his belly, but nothing could be more further from the truth. Carlos Beltran is a leader to be reckoned with. He is a leader we can count on and depend upon. He has led this team to three straight winning seasons, and will lead this team to the ultimate prize of a World Series title in 2008. It’s in the stars…