The Mets never cease to amaze. This time, they’ve turned their back on history to hire a manager all too familiar with their past. Advantage – Beltran.
The Mets hiring of Carlos Beltran as their 22nd manager is courageous, fascinating, and forward-thinking. What’s interesting, though, is the stormy relationship of the past between Beltran and the upper reaches of the Mets organization and how it will blend into the future.
Let’s begin with the time when Fred Wilpon labeled himself a “schmuck” for giving Beltran a seven-year $119 million deal on the heels of Betran’s breakout season with the Houston Astros in 2004. Are we to assume the sting of that episode has vanished?
Or, from the other side, are we assume Fred Wilpon has forgiven Carlos Beltran for moving forward with right knee surgery in the face of the Mets saying – No, don’t do that – thereby painting Beltran publicly as a wuss?
And then there was the incident when the team publicly took Betran to task for not attending a team visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
How low can you go was the inference if you can’t take time for our wounded soldiers. Shuttled aside, though, was that Beltran was doing work for his charity foundation that day.
Of course, nothing is ever written about Beltran without mentioning that called third strike he took against Adam Wainright to end the seventh-game of the 2006 ALCS, as I just did.
Beltran can detect the future
It’s all part of the history between Beltran and the Mets. What’s interesting now, of course, is how Beltran’s perspective on the Mets, knowing where all the bodies are buried, affects his second go-around with the organization.
On the positive side, Beltran can predict what’s coming with tunnel vision Joe Girardi (for instance) could only dream of having.
When the laughs and dysfunction come, Beltran will do back-flips to avoid getting entangled in a mess he didn’t create. And he will succeed because he knows the Mets organization all too well.
Beltran and the revenge factor
There’s something, even more, telling, though. Carlos Beltran, of all the candidates interviewing for the job, is the only one who singled out the Mets as the only team he would be interested in managing.
You can take that two ways. One, Beltran feels that the Mets are the only team worthy of his talent – not very likely. Or two, Beltran is out for revenge.
Now, don’t get excited. Revenge, as a motivation, doesn’t have to be harmful, as in Beltran sabotaging the Mets in all the ways he can in his position. He’s a too good person for that to be the case.
Instead, it can very well be that much like the spouse who remarries and raises three children telling his ex – “See, I told you I could be a good parent.”
Unless he’s a saint, Beltran has to feel wounded and scarred by his time with the Mets.
Therefore, what we may see now and forward is all that negative energy of the past bursting forth in an all-out effort, so he’s able to ride in the first car of the parade down Broadway when his team brings a Championship to New York.
Who would be unhappy about that?
A risky, yet fascinating venture
One fact is indisputable. The Mets and Carlos Beltran arrived here with full knowledge of history.
With that, and even though we’re talking about the mistake-prone Mets here, we have to assume both sides see a working relationship developing and then thriving over the next three years.
So that the Mets will jump at the chance to exercise their option on Beltran for the fourth year of the contract.
It’s a risky, yet fascinating venture. Those Mets never cease to amaze…