The Mets are in the line of fire of a bullet Carlos Beltran barely dodged. Alas, to remain credible as a franchise, they have no choice but to dismiss him…
The Mets and, in particular, Brodie Van Wagenen can sit there all day, insisting that whatever happened in Houston has nothing to do with us. The argument has no legs, and it begs of rationalization and pleas of innocence that does not ring true.
Washing his hands of the mess, Van Wagenen limped to a microphone to say:
Amazingly, Van Wagenen went on to say that he has not spoken to Beltran about this matter.
Say what? So Brodie, what you are saying is that next to your position as General Manager, you haven’t spoken to the next most important person in the Mets organization – the manager you just hired about an erupting cheating scandal.
If what Van Wagenen says is true, he should fire himself for negligence and dereliction of duty.
Mets: Two Wrongs Do Not Make A Right
If Carlos Beltran is not dirty, he is at least tainted. Likewise, as in the case of the rogue cop who creates a stink, the entire precinct (read Mets) becomes tainted.
Carlos Beltran lied to reporters, Mets fans, and indirectly to team officials during the Winter Meetings in December when he said he knows nothing about anything.
The ole soft shoe SODD defense – some other dude did it – but not me.
Commissioner Manfred says he decided even before the investigation got underway, he did not intend to punish any player(s) for their involvement.
This is a reasonable approach utilizing the premise it was management who did not exercise control of their charge. Sort of like the parent who lets their 14-year-old stay out all hours of the night.
Interestingly though, Beltran is the sole player mentioned in the report issued by Manfred. The report itself states that:
“Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter”.
In November, Carlos Beltran told the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, that he didn’t think that sign-stealing is cheating – as long as it is legal. His words at the time –
“The game of baseball for years, guys have given location and if the catchers get lazy and the pitcher doesn’t cover the signs from second base [then] of course players are going to take advantage. I don’t call that cheating.”
So, what are we talking about then? Is this supposed to the difference between a white lie and a whopper? Or maybe, we didn’t have sex; we only had oral sex.
The Ball Is Shifted To The Mets Court
Beltran can say what he wants and what’s done is done. But the stage now shifts to the Mets. A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow are fired in action separate from the one-year suspensions handed down by Manfred.
Alex Cora, the manager of the Red Sox now and coach of the Astros before, is in the crosshairs of Manfred as part of a separate but similar event.
His fate is likely to be dismissal once Boston is free to take action.
It may not be fair, but this is part of the job and responsibility that Beltran took on as the face of the Mets with a spotlight shining at all times.
What happened, or maybe more significantly, what didn’t happen during the interview process shall ever remain a black hole given only to speculation.
Both the Mets and Carlos Beltran have done back-flips to avoid discussing any discussion between the two parties regarding the likelihood that Beltran was about to be drawn into the investigation as a major player.
If true, the onus squarely falls on the Mets for not thoroughly vetting Beltran. Ask me a question, and I’ll answer. The Mets, apparently, never bothered to ask the question.
You might say that Carlos Beltran was indited but never charged. He was a participant and, in the beginning, an instigator that got the ball rolling in Houston.
It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over
That tag is stuck to Beltran for the remainder of his life, and moreover, for as long as the Mets remain associated with him as their manager.
In a few weeks, Beltran will be forced to come out of hiding. He will (rightly) be pelted with questions he has yet to answer publicly.
He will say something that will trigger another question, and then another – while his players sit there wondering – when does this turn to us and the NL Pennant Race?
The Mets face a heady decision, but it’s one they need to make to protect the integrity of the upcoming season and the franchise. Sorry, Carlos, you have to go…