(above : “not delivering” on October 19, 2006. Just in case you forgot)
Trade bait RF Carlos Beltran played what is likely to be his last home game as a New York Met yesterday afternoon at Citi Field, his final plate appearance receiving polite applause on a day in which the realistic Bob Klapisch describes the paying attendees as “too hot, too miserable, too lethargic watching the Mets sleepwalk through a 6-2 loss to the Cardinals.” By contrast, ESPN NY’s Kieran Darcy (or at least his headline editor) considers Beltran’s bon voyage from the Flushing faithful, “unfitting” the 6-time All-Star.
Beltran has never been a fan favorite here — despite the fact that he has never caused trouble off the field. Maybe it’s because he’s not a “homegrown” product, like Jose Reyes or David Wright. Maybe it’s because he’s a quiet guy when it comes to dealing with the media. Or maybe it’s because he didn’t deliver on Oct. 19, 2006.
Likely, it’s a combination of all three. And maybe that explains the lukewarm farewell at Citi Field on Thursday.
Perhaps there are other factors Darcy conveniently forgets. For starters, some of Beltran’s most passionate fans — those who don’t closely resemble Mike Francesa or Christopher Russo — are to a large extent, priced out of the Mets’ glittering new venue, and/or might have difficulty getting the time off on a Thursday afternoon. And then there’s the shameful manner in which Beltran was hung out to dry by the local media (if not his own ballclub’s P.R. department) when he failed to take part in the team’s annual visit to Walter Reed Hospital in 2010, or the way Keith Hernandez and Paul Lo Duca hinted Beltran was lax in his leadership skills when it came to dealing with the press. And then, there’s Beltran’s burial at the hands of none other than Fred Wilpon.
Sure, most of that was complete bullshit. But to pretend none of it contributed to a climate in which a great player / classy fella like Carlos Beltran was less than universally beloved is to be relatively ignorant of recent Mets history.