Tag Archives: carlos beltran

The Fred Wilpon Roast of the Mets

So great to be here roasting the Mets, so many memories with this team: the Kenny Rogers walkoff walk, the 2000 World Series, the called third strike to Beltran, two collapses two years in a row…Jesus, is this a baseball team or Gitmo? No, it can’t be Gitmo–even at Gitmo, the torture ends some time.

But I kid the Mets. What a great stadium they have out there in Flushing. It’s really a great monument to a team. That team is the Brooklyn Dodgers, but still. Wanna learn about the storied history of this franchise? Just go to the Mets Hall of Fame, which is just one plaque that says “consult your local library.”

Look at this great collection of ex-Mets we got up here. Shawn Green, Moises Alou, Damion Easley, Jose Valentin…don’t worry, we’ll get you guys outta here in time for the early bird special. Oh, and don’t move that bag of garbage in the seat next to you– that’s all the starting pitchers we used down the stretch in 07 and 08. Someone fix these guys a drink, and faster than than Rick Peterson said he could fix their arm motions.

I see Carlos Beltran over there on the dais. What a guy. I’d give him the shirt off my back. I have, as a matter of fact. This team’s got as much cash on hand as Carlos has working knee ligaments. That’s why I was so mad you didn’t go to Walter Reed Hospital last year, Carlos. I was hoping I could sneak you a quick trip to an MRI tube when no one was looking. Hey, those co-pays aren’t cheap! You think things are bad now, gimme a month. You guys are gonna be scrubbing foul balls for re-use and sleeping in truck stops on road trips.

Jose Reyes, what a racehorse this guy is. It’s a wonder no one’s shot you yet. This guy wants Carl Crawford money? If you sign with the Mets, I can at least guarantee you Carl’s Jr. money. Seriously, I love this guy, but The Terminator called and he wants his weave back. I know we made you play through a hamstring injury and made things worse for you, but at least we didn’t throw you on a cross-country flight while you were concussed. Just ask Ryan Church about that. If you can catch him on one of his “good days.”

David Wright, face of the franchise. And what an exciting face it is, huh folks? This guy once sent back a bowl of vanilla ice cream for being too spicy. He makes Perry Como look street. Don’t worry, Dave, you might not be a superstar, but you’ll always fit in at a Maroon 5 show. No one can take that away from you!

That’s my time, folks. Remember to come out to CitiField to see the best ballclub Buffalo has to offer. Good night!

This Joke of an Organization Isn’t Funny Anymore

beltran2.jpgOn Tuesday, most of the Mets visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center (why wounded vets would want to see any Mets, when they’ve already suffered so much, is beyond me). Four Mets were absent. Dillon Gee, making his first major league start that evening, was not expected to show. The other three were expected, however, though the visit was not mandatory. (Apparently it was “not mandatory” the way that NFL spring workouts are “not mandatory”.)

One of the missing was Oliver Perez, thief impersonating a major league pitcher, who declined to explain why he didn’t show. Another was Luis Castillo, who said he’d be “too traumatized” by the sight of wounded soldiers. (It’s no picnic for the soldiers either, Louie.)

The third was Carlos Beltran. He didn’t go because he had a meeting with his own charitable foundation which, among other endeavors, is currently building a school in his native Puerto Rico. He also told reporters that he’d visited VA hospitals in the off-season. He expressed some regret about not being able to go to Walter Reed. So clearly he was not anywhere near as huge a jerk as his two teammates, right?

Not so, according to the Mets. Initial reports said the front office was “very, very angry” with the three of them, making no distinction between Castillo, Perez, and Beltran. The three no-shows were lumped together, as if to say they each had the same level of callousness. And in nearly all news stories/blog posts about the incident, it was Beltran’s name who led the pack.

This means one of two things: Either the Mets were too stupid to check with Beltran and ask why he was absent (entirely possible), or they didn’t care and decided to hang him out to dry with the press. Much like they did this past winter, when Beltran underwent knee surgery thinking he had the team’s permission, only to have assistant GM John Ricco accuse him of going behind their back.

Regardless of the Mets’ boundless ability to do something accidentally stupid, I have to think this was calculated dumbassery. Because as evidenced by the Knee Surgery Kerfuffle, the front office clearly has it out for the man. God only knows why.

It makes no more sense than a sizable portion of the team’s fanbase despising him. I believe this is a minority, but it is a loud minority, the kind who will wait on hold for hours to tell Mike Francesa just how much they hate Carlos Beltran. Despite being (up until the last injury-plagued season or so) the best center fielder in baseball (name me someone else and I will laugh), there are many Mets fans who’d just as soon see him dead and buried.

Why? Some have never forgiven him for a lackluster 2005, his first year in New York. Some have never forgiven him for taking a called third strike from Adam Wainwright to end the 2006 NLCS.

But there is no one thing with Beltran for some people. There’s simply a perception that heĀ  doesn’t care, that he’s a malingerer (a bit like how Jose Reyes has been tarred with the same label). When he makes strangely precise pronouncements on his health–e.g., “I’m at 75% right now”–it’s seen as a weakness rather than a sign of honesty.

Always this refrain: He should try harder. He should look like he takes it personally, as if appearing to feel a certain way could will success. As if every bad player was a stoic, and every good one a whiny, petulant Paul O’Neill type who cried about every called strike and smashed Gatorade coolers because he cares too much.

When Beltran returned to the lineup after the All Star Break, it coincided with a team-wide slump and a hideous road trip. Obviously his mere presence in the clubhouse was to blame, these fans assumed–ignoring the presence of black holes like Henry Blanco and Jeff Francoeur and streaky rookies like Ike Davis in the everyday lineup.

Never mind that he came back to the field last September, in the textbook definition of a lost season, playing for nothing at all but pride on a knee that would eventually need surgery. Never mind that he did the same thing in 2005, after after his horrific head-on collision with Mike Cameron, when he had every right to sit out the rest of the season.

Never mind he put up big numbers at the end of 2007 and 2008 in a vain attempt to stave off The Collapses (OPS in September/October of 2008: 1.086). Never mind that he hit a two-run homer in the last game ever played at Shea to give the crowd hope that maybe, just maybe the unthinkable would not happen.

Never mind all the charity work the man does, in both New York and Puerto Rico, much of it unpublicized. Never mind that despite the idiotic hatred slung at him from the Joe Benignos of the world, he’s always conducted himself with class and dignity.

He doesn’t deserve a fraction of this abuse, and he certainly doesn’t deserve to have his own team lump him into the same category as the reprehensible Oliver Perez and the squeamish Luis Castillo. He doesn’t deserve to have the Mets publicly defame him for no good reason, just because they want to get rid of his suddenly expensive contract. (In which case, why are they making public statements that will only lower his value? Just more Mets idiocy.)

He also doesn’t deserve to have the Mets’ beat writers unblinkingly report this “story” exactly as the team told it, without asking the front office why they didn’t know (or didn’t mention) Beltran’s prior commitment. The team may have Machiavellian motives, but they need help from the press to truly enact them. Abetting character assassination: not your finest moment, fellas.

If the Mets’ finances are as bad as the whispers indicate, there’s no way the team could sign another center fielder who’s worth a damn. So I know exactly what’s going to happen: The Mets will unload Beltran for pennies on the dollar, paying much of his salary to get at some piddling prospect. Then they’ll overpay for some aging “slugger” who’ll hit .220 with 12 homers and have the range of a Zamboni.

beltrancatch.jpgAnd then both fans and writers will scream about the hideous on-field product and call for whoever’s head is on the chopping block at the time. Completely forgetting that we once had the greatest center fielder to play in New York since Willie, Mickey, and The Duke. Find me another center fielder who can hit like him and make catches like this one. Or this one. Or even this one, done while wearing a knee brace. You go ahead and find me a player like that. I’ll wait here.

It was ironic that when Beltran signed in 2005, he pronounced himself proud to be part of “the new Mets”. Because five years later, this team feels like it’s reentering the clueless, fumbling Art Howe Years that preceded him. When Bobby Valentine was kicked to the curb, robbing the team of its sharpest baseball mind and its identity, giving way to grossly overpriced and (even worse) boring teams full of useless vets like Mo Vaughn and Jeromy Burnitz and one dead-end quadruple-A player after another. Teams that hadn’t the slightest glimmer of an iota of a fraction of an idea of how to construct a roster, and with no hope on the horizon.

This organization is once again a joke. And not a funny one, either. More like a tasteless, racist joke told in the waning hours of a party by some belligerent drunk, who messes up the punchline and starts over three or four times, as you avoid eye contact as much as possible and stare at your watch and wonder, When did this party stop being fun?

The Jeff Francoeur Guide to Media Relations

francoeur2.jpgThis is bogus, man! Jerry wants me to platoon just because I’m dangerously unqualified to play in the majors! And just when I’m about to hit my 100th home run, too! That’s it, I gotta get a trade outta this dump. Anywhere but here. This is so unfair! Carlos, back me up on this.

beltran2.jpgHuh? I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. There’s hundreds of angry fans screaming at me for being a clubhouse cancer.

francoeur2.jpgWhoah, that’s totally unfair! If I were you, I’d grab a reporter and tell him my side of the story.
beltran2.jpgI would do that, but the reporters are right at front of the mob, brandishing pitchforks.

francoeur2.jpgYou’re too uptight, dude. You just gotta take it free and easy, like me.
beltran2.jpgBut if I take it free and easy, the reporters say I’m not hustling.
francoeur2.jpg*pfft* Don’t listen to those guys, man. If they write stuff like that, just give ’em the cold shoulder.
beltran2.jpgWhenever I ignore the writers, they say I’m aloof and unapproachable. Oh, and sometimes they threaten my family.
francoeur2.jpgI don’t know what half those words mean and you’re old. How about you, Jose? You’re a young go-getter. You gotta understand what I’m saying.
reyes2.jpgI’d like to help you out, Jeff, but I’m too busy trying to explain to the beat writers that me occasionally dancing isn’t the worst thing to happen to baseball since the Black Sox.
francoeur2.jpgSo you dance sometimes! Big deal! Why don’t you just ask for a trade to a different city, like me? You just gotta take what you want! I watched this motivational thingy once where this one really tall guy said that.
reyes2.jpgBecause the writers would throw bricks in my face if I did that.
francoeur2.jpgYou guys are too timid. Hey, there’s Angel Pagan. This guy gets it.
pagab.jpgYeah, I get it straight up the pooper from the sports press, because I’m having a huge year and yet somehow I don’t “play the game the right way”. Meanwhile, you swing at everything that moves and get away with murder.
francoeur2.jpgHey, don’t pin this on me, broham! Don’t get mad at me ’cause I make an effort to get to know the scribes.
pagab.jpgI tried to shake Bill Madden’s hand once, and he bit me! On the head!
beltran2.jpgWallace Matthews shit in a box and sent it to me, on my birthday.
reyes2.jpgThe only reason I’m still playing baseball is because Mike Lupica kidnapped my children.
francoeur2.jpgThat’s so weird. You guys are way better players than me. Why would the press give you such a hard time?
beltran2.jpgTake a guess.
francoeur2.jpgYou were all born on Tuesdays? I always heard reporters hate Tuesdays.
reyes2.jpgTake another guess.
francoeur2.jpgMaybe you don’t smile hard enough.
pagab.jpgTake another guess. Why do you think reporters might be more receptive to an aw-shucks boy from Georgia than three guys who come from foreign lands and have funny accents?
francoeur2.jpgI don’t have time to play your mind games. I gotta split. Me and Joel Sherman are gonna hit the lunch buffet at Temptations. Hasta manana, amigos!
reyes2.jpgIs it easier being that dumb if you’re that white?

beltran2.jpgShhh. If you listen hard, you can hear him swing and miss at something.

The Buck Stops Just Before Omar

beltran.jpgHey Omar, can we talk?
minaya.jpgSure thing, Carlos. How’s that knee?
beltran.jpgThat’s what I want to talk to you about. I spoke to you about this surgery earlier this week, and I thought everything was cool.
minaya.jpgYeah, definitely, sounds like something I’d say.
beltran.jpgBut today, your assistant GM made it sound as if I went behind your back to do this. What the fuck?! If you had some problem with how this went down, why didn’t we just handle it internally? Why did you go after me in public, by proxy, and make me and everyone else on this team look bad?

minaya.jpgI didn’t go after you, Carlos, my assistant GM did. But it’s clear that somebody pulled a real choke job here on the whole communication thing, and we’ll take care of that ASAP. Right after we work out that 7-year extension for Bengie Molina.

beltran.jpgYou’re responsible for this whole mess! Why are you talking like it’s somebody else’s fault?!

minaya.jpgCarlos, you’ve never been in charge of a multimillion-dollar operation…
beltran.jpgI am a multimillion-dollar operation…
minaya.jpg…so you don’t understand how this works. I am not responsible for the Mets. I am in charge of the Mets. Being in charge is not the same thing as being responsible.
beltran.jpgYou’re right, I don’t understand.
minaya.jpgYou see, people who are responsible are held responsible for their actions. If I were responsible for things, I would’ve been fired a long time ago. Remember that time we assed away a postseason berth in the last month of the season?
beltran.jpgYeah, that happened two years in a row.
minaya.jpgReally? I have no memory of it happening two times. Then again, there was that one season where I took a lot of naps. You see, Carlos, only schmucks are responsible for things. Men are in charge. Men lead. They lead by standing there, immobile, staring straight ahead while their ship runs aground.
beltran.jpgHow do you get to be in charge?
minaya.jpgYou thrust yourself ahead blindly, like a bull in a china shop, barreling all your competitors out of your path. Other guys in charge will admire your spunk and grit and determination, and they won’t care that you have no idea what you’re doing, because they don’t know what they’re doing either, and they’re afraid to have anyone too smart or principled around them to make them look bad in comparison.
beltran.jpgWell, unlike you, my job is based on performance. In the big leagues, you can’t fail upwards and hope to be rewarded.
minaya.jpgYou can’t? I assume you’ve met Oliver Perez.