“What’s going on with (Ruben) Tejada?” Beltran asked Martino, referring to the negativity that has been surrounding the Mets shortstop.
Martino tells him that Mets officials have long criticized Tejada on the record, and most recently anonymously, for his work ethic and conditioning. That struck a chord with Beltran, who has endured similar experiences during his time with the Mets.
“Anonymous?” Beltran said. “Come on. Anonymous? Come forward, brother. If you have something to say, come forward and say it.”
Beltran said that when a young player like Tejada sees negative stories about him and being generated from his team, he is deeply affected and not in a good way.
“Of course, it has to make you feel bad. Horrible. When you see all that coming out, you feel bad about yourself, and feel bad about the whole situation. The best way to solve that is by communicating. Not in the papers. You solve things by talking to the person. Person-to-person.”
Martino states that Beltran was impressed by Tejada when they played together in 2010 and 2011.
“Sometimes when you’re quiet and you don’t say much, and you respond back with a smile, some people misunderstand,” Beltran said. “Maybe they start putting a stamp on him, that he is that type of guy. But my experience with him is that he is a great kid, and I love him.”
Martino recounts Sandy Alderson’s response to the anonymous comment from someone on his staff. “Look, we have probably 30 front office and coaching staff down here. There’s going to be a stray comment about players from time to time. That’s unfortunately the nature of the media in New York.”
“I’m not surprised,” Beltran humorously shared with Martino. “No, I’m not surprised. By anything anymore.”
All the negativity about Tejada compelled Beltran to come to the defense and moral support of the young shortstop. From Beltran’s perspective, this is a continuing problem that has gone on in the past and it’s unfair.
I have to agree somewhat with Beltran in the sense that if someone in Mets management had something negative to say why did he run to the NY Post?
A young player can be ruined by all the negativity surrounding him and I am not saying that Tejada hasn’t brought some of it upon himself, but how much will he be able to take before it truly breaks him?
If it’s a motivational tactic, to get Tejada to do more or be more, I can see that backfiring. The only way to get a player to perform well is to lift him up, not tear him down.
Mets captain David Wright did not attempt to hide his anger about the anonymous jab on Tejada and also came to his teammate’s defense.
“That’s one of my biggest pet peeves in all of baseball,” Wright said. “If you’re going to criticize the guy, put your name behind it.”
“This is the best shape I have seen him come into spring in,” the third baseman said, “and I can see he is moving around a lot better out there.”
Hopefully all this drama will come to an end soon and we can all concentrate on playing baseball games again.
(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)