This afternoon, Carlos Beltran’s dream of becoming a New York Yankee became official.
The outfielder, who signed a three-year, $45 million deal this offseason to play in the Bronx, spent part of his press conference talking about his tenure with the Mets. While he was appreciative for his time there, Beltran’s signs of bitterness towards the organization were evident.
He addressed the 2010 Walter Reed Medical Center incident, when he failed to join the team for their annual visit. Media, fans, and even some upper management scrutinized Beltran for his absence. At the time, he excused himself by saying he was in a meeting with his foundation regarding plans to build a high school in his native Puerto Rico.
“All the controversy about the Walter Reed,” Beltran said of the incident, “and the knee – the organization trying to prove me as a player that I was a ‘bad apple.’ I was this, I was that. I can deal with 0-for-4s and three strikeouts and talk to you guys. I can deal with that. But when someone is trying to hurt you in a personal way, trying to put things out there that are not me, then we got trouble. Now it’s personal.”
But the five-time All-Star didn’t stop there.
“At that point, when they say all that about myself, of course I was hurt. You cannot believe the organization that signed you for seven years is trying to put you down. In that aspect, I felt hurt. I’m a player, but they don’t only hurt me, they hurt my family, they hurt people around me.”
It is known that Beltran often found himself at the center of negative press. First, there was his called third strike against Adam Wainwright in game seven of the 2006 NLCS that caused fans to turn on him. Then, in 2009, he developed chronic knee issues that landed him on the disabled list several times.
It seemed like Beltran simply could not catch a break during his time in Queens. Some even think he didn’t live up to the seven year, $119 million deal he signed with the Mets.
I do not blame Beltran for his outspokenness this afternoon. I just hope he realizes there are many Mets fans who do appreciate all that he did during his nearly seven years with the team: 149 home runs, 559 RBI, 100 stolen bases, and a .280/.369/.869 line. He was a five-time All-Star who won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards. Overall, he is one of the greatest players in Mets history and a future Hall of Famer.
It is simply unfair that his contributions are often overshadowed by his supposed attitude or a called third strike during a postseason in which he dominated. After all, throughout that series alone, he hit .296/.387/.667 with three home runs and four runs batted in — yet it is how the game ended that fans remembers him by.
All in all, it will certainly be interesting to see the reception Mets fans give him when the Yankees visit Queens in May.