It’s important now and then to step back from the criticism, the anger, the yelling, the name calling…and remember something that is completely forgotten among all the opinions in the sports world. Baseball players are human – no more and no less than you and me. Carlos Beltran is a player who gets a lot of heat thrown his way; for what reason, I never understood. I will always respect Carlos Beltran and I think he is a great player. I never understood all the criticism about him not being a “team player” or being “arrogant”. Is he injury prone? Yeah, sure. His knees are terrible. But he’s always played hard and in my opinion, he’ll always have my respect.
For those of you who aren’t on the Beltran hate wagon, here’s a nice story to make you smile. It was originally reported by Anthony DiComo, who did a spectacular job with it. You can find that story here.
Jeriel is a 13-year old cancer patient who lived in Beltran’s hometown of Manati, Puerto Rico. They moved to the Washington D.C. area not too long ago and it became easier to communicate between the two of them. Last year, at the age of 12, Jeriel was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma. This was terrible news because Jeriel was noted to be someone who was active in his school, church, and community overall.
Upon hearing the news of Jeriel’s condition last winter, Beltran invited Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez over to his house in Puerto Rico, where the two taped a video message and sent it to the boy. Recently, Jessica Beltran, Carlos’ wife, received a facebook message about how terrible Jeriel had been feeling recently due to his numerous tiring cancer treatments. Beltran noted that his problems with his knees seemed insignificant compared to the cancer problems that Jeriel had to face.
Sometimes we feel we have problems,” Beltran said. “Compared to that, it makes you…”
He trailed off for a moment, before rediscovering the thought.
“I have a 3-year-old daughter, and it makes me come home and thank God for giving me a healthy child. Sometimes things don’t go your way in life, but it’s nothing compared to what he’s going through.”
Beltran proceeded to make a collective video birthday greeting with his teamates for Jeriel’s 13th birthday using Jose Reyes, Ryota Igarashi – among others, which I am sure will put a big smile on his face.
This reminds me of a situation that also hit home for me not too long ago – Mark Sanchez and his young friend Aiden. It’s not my place to talk about football on a baseball blog but basically, Aiden was a young cancer patient. He befriended Mark Sanchez, while Sanchez had a shoulder injury himself, and he spoke, in tears, about how his shoulder injury was insignificant compared to what his young friend had to deal with.
Baseball players, football players, basketball players…they’re all human in the end. It’s always nice to take a look at what’s going on and how they make a difference in their community. Say what you want about Beltran – but this is a nice story. I wish the best for Jerial and I hope he finds some miraculous way to recover.