Carlos Beltran and The Media
Part of the blame for this lands on Beltran, but the media is just as responsible for crafting the narrative that led to Beltran’s firing. When the scandal broke, the media predictably asked Beltran about his role in the scandal, to which he lied.
For someone who played in New York for more than seven years and saw the rise of social media, Beltran’s decision to lie was incredibly dumb and shortsighted. Even if he was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation where he would constantly be second-guessed because of his association with the Astros, Beltran could have easily said “No comment”.
By lying, Beltran invited the media to create an even bigger controversy. One where the Mets knowingly hired a liar and a cheat to run their team, one where the ethics of baseball were second to winning. Never mind that the team was a month and a half away from spring training, the prominent story would be how morally and competitively compromised the Mets were with Beltran as manager.
If there’s one thing to be said about the New York media, it’s that if they smell blood, they will attack. Beltran was the easy target in Astrogate because he was there and however big his role was, he had to know that he would inevitably be questioned.
Still, for the media to act as it did, with pearl-clutching and questions about integrity when the Mickey Callaway incident happened months earlier, one has to wonder how much of an angle they were going for with an Astrogate story
Even if it had amounted to nothing and Beltran had not been canned to save face, would the media have left the story alone? Or would they still pursue a narrative that because Beltran was part of a team accused of cheating, he was no longer trustworthy? Regardless of whether or not that narrative would have been produced, Beltran’s stupidity only served to stoke the flames and led to a major blow-up.