3 Up & 3 Down – The Carlos Beltran Edition

This week, MMO is celebrating the career of Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. Eager to do our part here at 3 & 3, we’ve come up with a special 3 Up & 3 Down featuring Carlos Beltran. So queue up El Esta Aqui (He is Here)!!

3 Up:

1) Quiet Leadership: A few days ago on an SNY telecast, Gary Cohen mentioned how Carlos is enjoying himself this year, and has really taken on a mentoring roll with these young Mets. Angel Pagan idolizes Beltran, and taking over in centerfield for Carlos had to be a thrill for Pagan. Beltran handled the shift to right field with class and dignity. There are many games this year Carlos could have taken himself out of, but knew the Mets needed him in the line up with both Wright & Davis out. It was also reported earlier this season that Carlos is starting a baseball academy in Puerto Rico. Beltran visited several major league players to get their help in writing manuals on how to play every position. All of this has been done pretty much off the radar screen. Beltran is a leader and a class act.

2) 41 Home Runs in 2006: In the magical year of 2006, Beltran had 41 home runs for the Mets and now shares the single season franchise record for homers with Todd Hundley. No Met has come close to 41 homers since.

3) Superb Defense: Carlos Beltran will probably go down as one of the most underrated Mets ever. Above I mentioned his 41 home runs in 2006, but let’s not forget the Gold Gloves in 2006, 2007 and 2008. All playing center field in the vastness of Shea Stadium. Not a band box of a ballpark by any means. Beltran has the gift of making difficult plays look easy with his graceful long strides. He’s truly an underrated defensive player.

3 Down:

1) 2009 & 2010: In 2009 Beltran played in 81 games, in 2010 it was even less at 64 games. The missed time was due a knee injury that in true Mets fashion was originally misdiagnosed. Things got worse when Carlos had off season surgery on his leg without the blessing of the Mets who preferred him to play through the injury. Sadly, the incident made some Met fans consider Beltran “soft”. All I know is that the Mets were (and still are) a better team with Beltran in the lineup than without.

2) Called Strike 3: I’ve watched a lot of Mets baseball in my life, and as a survival mechanism of sorts, I’ve forgotten a lot of the bad stuff. However, Beltran taking called strike three in Game 7 of the 2006 playoffs against the Cardinals is something I can’t forget. I wonder what could have been for this franchise had that one at-bat had gone differently… It’s all okay though Carlos, I forgive you.

3) Astros Fans: Whenever Beltran plays in Houston against the Astros, the stadium resonates with boos and jeers for Beltran. Sure he left Houston for a better offer, but who wouldn’t these days? The thing is, Astros fans carry on like Beltran was a longtime player with them rather than the rental that he was. The Astros fans need to get over it already.