I was reading this pretty cool description of how Beltran’s huge decision went down yesterday in the Star-Ledger.
Around 7:15 a.m., Beltran poked his head into Collins’ office. He asked for Alderson, who was away attending a Marines charity event in California. Collins explained that the general manager was away. So Beltran broke the news to him alone. The decision caught Collins off-guard.
“I thought for sure he was going to want to try to play a couple in center field before he made the decision,” Collins said.
He was wrong. Beltran then asked if Collins wanted to accompany him as he informed Pagan. No, Collins said. This should be from you. So Beltran and Pagan sat together, the past and future center fielders of the Mets. Earlier in camp, Pagan had insisted he wanted Beltran to be 100 percent and retain his position in center.
Now, his excitement spilled over. “It’s a relief,” Pagan said, “knowing that you’re going to be in a certain position.”
Later in the day, they sat next to each other in the dugout. Pagan nodded and grinned when Beltran mentioned his defensive prowess.
“I feel that we have another great center fielder in baseball, right here, next to me,” Beltran said. “So I think it’s going to be fun for him. It’s going to be fun for me. Because I have to cover less ground. Now I let Pagan catch everything.”
How can something so unbelievably complicated and so full of potential land mines, come off so easily and without one freaking hitch? These are the Mets, nothing ever goes this easily. How did we get through this without the need for body bags and toe tags?
Think about all the weeks and months of non-stop belly-aching and bitching we’ve had to endure from SNY and WFAN this off season. Try and recall all the tweets and all the blog posts and all the podcasts that warned us of the doom and gloom that was coming to Mets camp this Spring. Helen of Troy may have had a face that launched a thousand ships, but Carlos Beltran had a knee that launched a thousand blog posts – almost all of them bad.
Unfortunately for all the pessimists and alarmists and agitators, there would be no boisterous blow-ups yesterday. There were no shots fired, no casualties, and no drama. Just the sounds of bats cracking and leather popping. All is exactly as it should be on March 1st, and for that I thank Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan and Terry Collins.
Yesterday’s events should have made most Mets fans feel good. Our team actually behaved like a team for the first time in years. But of course there are those who seem to enjoy wallowing in their own self-inflicted drama and misery.
For those Mets fans, there’s never any joy in Mudville. The days of their baseball season are always dark and overcast and fraught with rain, and in their world of being a Mets fan, Mighty Casey always strikes out. Those are the same Mets fans that have never believed. Tug McGraw’s chants would have been wasted on them, and the only miracle they believe in comes in a jar and tastes like mayonnaise.
They are fueled by the talking heads on WFAN where Mike Francesa looked for Beltran’s ulterior motive, and SNY where Chris Carlin wondered why Carlos Beltran made his decision so hastily and without letting spring training play out a little longer. Really Chris?
I guess they’re just annoyed because their programming directors now have to find something else to fill the airwaves. Their favorite whipping boy Carlos Beltran, didn’t end up being the villain they all wanted us to believe he was.
It’s tough to be a great ballplayer and play in this city. From the moment they arrive they are chopped down piece by piece and bit by bit until there’s nothing left, but a shell of their former selves.
It’s a shame that in the last six years, one of the best offensive players the Mets have ever had, never got his due praise from the city he decided to call home.
In 2006, Beltran had one of the greatest seasons in franchise history. He blasted 41 home runs (a Mets record), collected 116 RBI (sixth all time) and scored 127 runs (another Mets record). His .594 SLG and .982 OPS led the Mets to the post season. In NLCS play, Beltran batted .298 and led the team in hits (8), home runs (3) and runs scored (8), while posting a.387 OBP, a .667 SLG and a 1.054 OPS. Sadly, too many fans have chosen to forget all of that, choosing instead to remember Beltran for one pitch. You know the one.
It’s a sad commentary.
Don’t look now, but a great ballplayer and a tremendous human being just passed through our town.