Since the Mets introduced Carlos Beltran as their new manager six weeks ago, he’s curiously appeared publicly only once. Or, maybe it’s not so mysterious…
Mets manager Carlos Beltran is not known as a loudmouth, and his ego is usually repressed.
But you would think any brand new manager of a major league team, especially a first-time appointee, would be brimming with ideas about improving his team and looking for avenues to get his message out.
In New York, the media is always happy to assist in return for a good storyline. In Beltran’s absence, Brodie Van Wagenen has been left to do all the heavy lifting in keeping the Mets before the eyes of their fans.
Oddly, Beltran has been mysteriously quiet, and it was only at the Winter Meetings a week ago when tradition demanded that he conduct a press conference, as all managers are expected to do.
The press conference did not go well – more on that in a minute.
Mets in a hurry up and wait mode
When someone of Beltran’s stature and position falls below the radar, speculation is bound to become part of the narrative.
It’s not a coincidence then that four days ago several reports surfaced, including this one from CBS Sports, containing the following:
“Houston Astros personnel have admitted to Major League Baseball that the club used a center-field video camera to rely on pitching signs in real-time, according to a report published by Andy Martino of SNY. The league interviewed the witnesses from the Astros organization as part of an investigation into the Houston Astros’ alleged electronic sign-stealing scheme.”
Reports of this kind first surfaced in 2017, and accusations continued throughout 2018 and 2019. This has prompted a full-scale investigation by Major League Baseball (MLB). After the probe, suspensions, and fines are sure to be handed down by MLB.
Carlos Beltran played the final season of his career for the Houston Astros in 2017.
MLB has done what it can to place a “gag order” on everyone associated with the probe, and that would apply to Beltran as a person of interest.
Typically, the order is meant to apply only to specifics of the investigation, including the content of interviews that are being conducted.
MLB would not be happy, but they would not interfere with anyone screaming their non-involvement and innocence. Beltran is mum.
Beltran plays dodgeball with the media
Here’s what Beltran did say when he was queried by Justin Toscano of northjersey.com in San Diego a week ago:
- “Honestly, on Houston’s situation, I don’t have any comment for the respect of the process that has been happening. So I’m here to talk Mets baseball.”
- “You know what, I’m not going to comment on that because, as I said, the whole investigation is in the process by MLB baseball. So anything related to suspension, the Astros, I don’t have any comment on those.”
- “I know where you’re coming from, and I understand you’re trying to do your job and ask those questions, but I wouldn’t answer any questions in that area.”
So, there we have Beltran saying all the right things while saying nothing of the essence of the questions posed by Toscano, who must have eerily felt as though he was interviewing Derek Jeter.
Here’s what it looked and sounded like on video:
Beltran’s performance might be chalked up to his baptism with New York media. An experienced manager like Aaron Boone, or for that matter, even Mickey Callaway, would have turned the interview entirely around.
After all, Beltran said he came here “to talk about the Mets.” So talk about the Mets. Launch yourself into a monologue about the welcome additions of Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha – and what an excellent job Brodie Van Wagen is doing in putting the Mets together for 2020 season.
Mets waiting for the other shoe to drop?
There is some degree of apprehension about the investigation that Beltran is feeling. This is not the same confident Carlos Beltran, who was a Rookie of the Year, slammed out more than 2,700 hits, and made the All-Star team nine times.
Unclear too is where the Mets fit in. Surely, Van Wagenen and Fred Wilpon would have thoroughly vetted Beltran on his part (if any) in the Astros sign-stealing cheating plot, and he came up clean.
Or, did they miss the mark and, like Beltran, are they’re waiting for the other shoe to drop?
Major League Baseball is not probing the reasons why the Challenger failed to reach orbit before exploding. And they can’t let this go on forever with as many as three teams future hanging in the balance (Boston and Alex Cora, the Mets, and, of course, the Astros).
Just plain weird…
Two years ago, you couldn’t get Mickey Callaway to shut up. Callaway was so excited at the opportunity given to him that he couldn’t upload all the ideas he had about the upcoming Spring Training, and all the things he couldn’t wait to get going for the Mets.
The word that keeps coming back to me is weird. A significant reason why the Mets hired Beltran is his reputation as a stand-up person with good character. Nothing is adding up.
And now, what? Is it all going to come crashing down? At this point, all we can hope is Carlos Beltran will never hear from Mets fans – “Say it ain’t so, Carlos.”