Given that it was the Mets’ decision to trade Carlos Beltran to San Francisco last summer rather than attempt to resign the veteran outfielder, I’d be pretty surprised to learn there are Amazins’ fans who deeply resent Beltran for hooking up with the Cardinals this winter. But that’s sort of what the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino alludes to in goading a “I’m not thinking about the fans, I’m thinking about myself,” comment from Beltran at last night’s Baseball Assitance Team charity dinner.
“I just want to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs,” he said. “What happened in 2006, you have to turn the page. That’s over. We can’t bring 2006 back to 2012. It has been six years. If they want to continue to think about that moment, then that’s their problem. Like I said, I have turned the page. I have really moved on.”
If his words sounded selfish, it is worth noting Beltran’s generous nature with teammates. From Angel Pagan to Lucas Duda, he provided frequent counseling on psychology and swing mechanics. The fans? Well … it’s complicated.
It was Beltran, after all, who told the Daily News last March that New York baseball fans “act like they own you.” His tenure included disagreements with team brass over knee surgery and his decision to forgo a voluntary visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Both of those controversies earned him fresh criticism from some in the public, and solidified the complexity of his time here.
“Unfortunately, in the past years, there were things that happened,” Beltran said. “Sometimes, as a player, things that happened in the clubhouse, they should stay in the clubhouse. But unfortunately, sometimes in comes out, and you have to address the media.”
While it would be a stretch to claim Beltran was nearly as popular in his Mets tenure as say, Mike Piazza was in his, was his relationship with the fans nearly as fractious as his relationship with WFAN? Judging by the way his comeback efforts were applauded by the (admittedly few) who attended Mets games last season, isn’t this “complication relationship” a bit overstated?