Appreciating Beltran Before He’s Gone
NOTE: This is a post by Kyle Schnitzer. Please direct your comments to him.
“El Esta Aqui, El Esta Aquiii” the little jingle that gets stuck in every Mets fans head after every game. Who knew such a playful tune could have such a powerful meaning. “He is here.”
There is a saying (and a song by Joni Mitchell) that goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. And so it is with Carlos Beltran, one of the most unappreciated players in Mets history.
“Now batting number 15 Carrrrrlooosss Beltrannnn,” says New York Mets PA announcer Alex Anthony when the Mets outfielder steps into the batter’s box. And behind him, 56,357 fans cheering as loud as they can, hoping that Beltran can hear them individually. “And the 0-2 pitch; strike 3! The Cardinals are going to the World Series,” Joe Buck says in the most boring tone a broadcaster can say it.
Every Met fans remembers that moment. We were either at the game, at the bar, at our friends, or for me, watching Fox past my bedtime. I remember everything. My mom turned off the television like she usually does when the Mets begin to blow the game. So for her, the game was off by the 2nd inning.
Then a miracle happened. As Scott Rolen struck that 91 MPH fastball to leftfield, the season seemed destined to be over. Everything I knew from that 2006 New York Mets team was melting right in front of me. But there he was, little Endy Chavez making a snow-cone catch as he crashed into the left field wall. Jim Edmonds knew he was too far away from first to be safe.
I remember screaming and jumping up and down. The sounds out of my mouth were the ones that sound like you witnessed murder or your parents were surprising you with $50,000. I rushed downstairs, made my mom put on the game, and listened to Gary Cohen call the rest of the game.
And then it happened. Molina hits a homerun in the top of the 9th. Adam Wainwright, a nobody back then, comes in and gives up two base hits to the first batters and a walk. Carlos Beltran comes up to the plate.
And strikes out looking on an 0-2 curveball. The Cardinals win the series. 3 pitches was all it took from feeling on top of the world to being depressed for 2 weeks after.
Everyone hated Carlos Beltran.
To this day, I have never felt that low in my life. Thursday, October 19, 2006 will always be a day Mets fans remember. But do we really remember everything that happened during that game?
Do we remember that the Mets combined for a whopping 4 hits that game, 1 of the hits belonging to Beltran? Do we remember the score? 3-1. The lone run belonging to Carlos Beltran, as he collected the only extra base hit for the Mets. Most of all, do we remember the Cliff Floyd and Jose Reyes at-bats during that dreaded bottom of the 9th?
The answer is: No. I didn’t, I had to find a game log to find it out. Cliff Floyd struck out with runners on first and second. Jose Reyes lined out to centerfield. But does anyone ever blame Reyes of Floyd for that game? The blame gave always involves Beltran.
As much as I blamed Beltran for that series, in reality, the pitch was nasty. It was like jumping off the Eiffel Tower with 90 MPH winds. We remember that moment, but we forget about that rest.
Carlos Beltran has been an All-Star as a Met 5 years out of 7. He received a gold glove for his flashy defense 3 times. And won back-to-back Silver Slugger awards in 2005 and 2006. Yet we complain about his contract.
He’s hit 148 homeruns to date as a Mets player. Driving in 552 runs, stealing 100 bags, and striking out more than 100 times only once. David Wright has struck out more than 100 times 6 times in his 8-year career, and is on pace to make it 7.
It’s not a question anymore; Carlos Beltran has been one of the Mets most consistent players ever. He’s been the best Mets best centerfielder of all time. Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones don’t compare to Beltran’s caliber.
As the July 31st trading deadline creeps up on us, the reality is, Carlos Beltran will no longer be a Met. In return, the Mets will hopefully receive prospects that can one day produce as much as Beltran did as a Met. And that oh so familiar jingle, “El esta aqui” will not be playing anymore in Citi Field.
“Que Estuvo Aqui”