The Mets are working their way through the list of candidates for the job as manager. This is how the interview with Carlos Beltran went…
Most readers have picked up on the idea that this series is what’s called True Fiction. These are “Transcripts”, not The Transcripts. Some of the candidate’s interviews have yet to take place. The readers who “get it” are enjoying the series. I hope that includes you.
Van Wagenen: Bienvenido, Carlos. Gracias por venir. tomar asiento. ¿Puedo traerte algo? Café, ¿está fresco? ¿Té, Agua?
Beltran: Ah, nice touch. No thanks, I’m good.
Van Wagenen: It took me all night to learn that. So tell me, why did you accept this interview with the Mets?
Beltran: Actually, I was hoping you would call. Brodie, because I believe this is a team on the cusp of greatness. A tweak here and a tweak there is all that’s needed. The Mets excite me, even as a fan. That’s why I’m here, and thank you for the opportunity.
Van Wagenen: You’re quite welcome, and I share those sentiments with you. Last year was heartbreaking from beginning to end. But the way the team gelled during the second half almost made up for everything.
Now, one of those tweaks, as you called them, was dismissing Mickey Callaway. Mickey is an exceptional person, but I felt we needed a new direction.
What can you bring to the table? Tell me about yourself and your vision of managing the New York Mets.
Beltran: Well, there’s not much to tell that you probably don’t already know. My reputation, as they say, precedes me. So, let’s concentrate on somethings you probably don’t know about me.
First and foremost, I believe a manager needs to create an atmosphere where it’s fun to come to the ballpark every day. You know the season is a grind.
You know that anytime you put 25 men in one room, all from different backgrounds and parts of the world – for six months or more – there is the potential for trouble and conflict.
But if the guys come in every day with the idea “I’m having the time of my life,” and I can’t wait to put that funny picture of Pete Alonso trying to tie his shoes on his locker – stupid things lead to great things. I’ve seen it, and I know it works.
Van Wagenen: I like that answer. Go on.
Beltran: That relaxed atmosphere also applies to the media. You can’t be adversarial with them and expect to win the battle. They have a job to do, and you need to respect that. Be honest. Never tell a lie, and always back your players.
It sounds easy, but of course, it’s not. But you have to frame it that way.
Van Wagenen: Okay, you’re on a roll. Go on.
Beltran: I’ll tell you what I won’t do – ever. I will not hesitate to discipline a player who doesn’t give 100% a hundred percent of the time. You have Robinson Cano here. I’ve known him for years. But I’ll tell you right now if he pulls that jog to first base one time on my watch, he’s suspended with no pay for three games. And I expect you to back me on that.
Now, tell me. What about my coaches? Do I have free reign on that?
Van Wagenen: Yes, you do, with one exception. I think highly of Phil Regan, our pitching coach, and I’d want you to consider keeping him on seriously. Though, the final decision is yours.
Beltran: I can do that. In turn, though, I’d like you to consider the availability of Ray Searage. You know he is no longer with the Pirates. Searage is the reason why Gerrit Cole is who he is today.
Believe me; he’s the best. But we can work on that.
Van Wagenen: What about your family? I heard you are living in the Houston area. Do you think you’d move to New York?
Beltran: Yes, that a major consideration, of course. Jessica and I have talked about it, but to be honest, we’re not quite sure what we would do. You do know that we bought a house on Long Island when I played with the Mets. I’d have to table that one for now.
Let me ask you something. How do you like your job?
Van Wagenen: Well, it is what everyone says it is. It’s challenging on several levels, but for me, it’s the job of a lifetime. Everything you’ve heard about the Wilpons is true, but at least you know how that game is played and where you stand.
Would I like to be Brian Cashman or Theo Epstein? Maybe. But I don’t think about it very much. I just try to do my job.
How about you, are you happy with your job in the Yankees organization?
Betran: Very much so, and in case you are wondering, I’ve spoken to Brian, and he wishes me nothing but the best if I decide to move on.
Speaking of which, I have to move on. They’re having a Walk For Cerebral Palsy in New Jersey, and I need to get there in an hour or so.
Van Wagenen: That’s wonderful, Carlos. Can I get you an Uber, or are you all set to get there?
Beltran: I’m good. But, thanks.
Van Wagenen: I don’t know how you feel, but I’ll tell you straight out. I want to continue this conversation soon. I have some homework for you, though. I want you to come in next time with five questions – not four and not six – five questions you’d like to ask me about the Mets and what your responsibilities will entail.
Beltran: No problem. I can tell you as well that I feel energized by this meeting, and I look forward to your call.
Van Wagenen: Perfect. You’ll hear from me soon.
In the days following, Brodie Van Wagenen told several reporters he was “very impressed” with Carlos Beltran, and there’s a “good chance” he’ll be asked to come in for a second interview.
Beltran did not comment, but he did say he sent a text to Van Wagenen thanking him for the interview.
Van Wagenen continues to wade through the list of candidates to be interviewed.