Beltran “Hurt” by Mets Organization

Carlos Beltran made some candid remarks about the Mets organization following Friday’s press conference introducing him as the newest Yankee.

According to ESPN.com, Beltran recalled moments when he felt unfairly treated by the Mets’ front office:

“All the controversy about the Walter Reed,” Beltran said. “The knee — the organization trying to put me as a player that I was a ‘bad apple.’ I was this. I was that. I can deal with 0-for-4 and three strikeouts and talk to you guys. But when someone is trying to hurt you in a very personal way, trying to put things out there, that I know me. Then we got trouble. Now, it’s personal. When they say all that about myself, 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.”

There’s nothing unfair about what Beltran had to say.

Beltran was arguably the Mets’ best all-around player from 2006-2009, before knee injuries slowed him down. It seemed Mets ownership (and some fans – although Beltran’s criticism seems primarily directed toward the front office) never appreciated him nonetheless. Fred Wilpon’s infamous interview with the New Yorker underscored this perception:

“We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series,” he said, referring to himself. In the course of playing out his seven-year, $119-million contract with the Mets, Beltran, too, has been hobbled by injuries. “He’s sixty-five to seventy per cent of what he was.”

Beltran and the front office disagreed on how to handle his knee injuries. In 2010, Beltran had arthroscopic surgery without the team’s blessing.

Beltran’s comments on Friday might take you aback at first, but they’re really no surprise. The Mets have a habit of bad-mouthing their players (most recently R.A. Dickey before his trade).

It’s another indictment of how the Wilpons have chosen to run their baseball team, and why that kind of culture has to change.

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. NormE December 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm
    Sad, sad, sad!
    Why do we Mets fans give our hearts to a team whose ownership is undeserving? I guess someone with a stronger background in psychology will have to come up with an answer.
    • DaveSchneck December 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm
      NormE,
      It’s called addiction.
    • izzy December 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm
      Norm E I don’t know why some people are Met fans but a lot of family’s used to live and die by one of the three New York teams and when the Mets came, the Giants and Dodger families gradually turned to the Mets because the Fathers couldn’t stand the Yanks. I guess families who have Fathers or Mothers who love the Mets spend a lot of time brain washing their kids to follow this tradition. It has nothing to do with Wilpon or Alderson or M Donald Grant.
      • crozier December 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm
        That’s certainly my case. I’m from the Philadelphia area, but no one in my family cared about baseball. So I learned baseball watching Met games with my North Jersey aunt and uncle, who’d been Giants fans and adopted the Mets in ’62.

        I was never a “fan” of front office management; I was a fan of Tom Seaver. But it was never a choice to change allegiances when M. Donald Grant traded Seaver, and it isn’t a choice now.

  2. James Preller December 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    Most recently we’ve read dirt about Byrd and Turner. That is what this organization does, sadly.

    I’m 100% behind Beltran on this one.

    Worst of all, he was a great signing and the owner looks back on it as some kind of mistake.

  3. Steven A December 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    Actually the psychology is quite simple. The whole identity and self-worth of Fred and Jeff Wilpon is tied up to their luck in being part of an elite club – owners of a Major League Baseball club. Without the Mets they would be just medium successful real estate investors, and Jeff would be the owner of several fast food franchises. Owning the Mets gives them unbelievable prestige and admission to the elite circles of US society. Thus, when the team fails they take it personally and have to find reasons to blame someone else rather than being a man and just accepting the fact that team success on the field is pretty random and unpredictable. Woody Johnson handles a similar product in a much more adult way.
    • Dan42 December 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm
      Besides “the fact that team success on the field is pretty random and unpredictable” they have only themselves to blame for a good deal of the lack of success, making it doubly important to keep a scapegoat front and center. Fortunately it seems to be to the point where they are being recognized for what they are, and it’s only a matter of (probably too much) time before they pass into oblivion.
  4. Steven A December 20, 2013 at 5:33 pm
    What I should have also added is that because of this psychological dynamic, the Wilpons are unlikely to ever sell the team. It is not money that drives them. Being owners of a major league team with ten million or so a year to cover personal expenses (something they surely have) is in general a much better gig than having a couple of billion in cash. If they sold the team, the Wilpons would be just another bunch of billionaires without class. Trust me there are probably at least 20 of those already in new York that you never even heard of.
    • Dan42 December 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm
      Selling the team will depend on the mercy of the bankers, and Selig’s successor.
      • argonbunnies December 21, 2013 at 4:04 am
        If you’re hoping a new commish will push the Wilpons out, keep dreaming. The MLB commissioner’s job is to serve the owners, and pushing one of them out would utterly freak out the rest of them. If Carl Pohlad can get away with offering the Twins up for contraction and refusing to spend on an extra reliever or bench guy during their playoff runs, all while sitting on his $2 billion, then no owner will ever be forced out for being a bad owner. See also Jeffrey Loria.

        I have to think McCourt had already fallen out of the boys’ club and finances were forcing his hand before Selig made things official. I wouldn’t expect that to ever happen again. If the Wilpons ever sell the Mets, it’ll be because they want to.

        • Dan42 December 21, 2013 at 8:03 am
          I was thinking more like the bankers balk, and the new commish doesn’t pull a Selig. Not likely, but there is no hope otherwise.
        • DanB December 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm
          The two death blows for an owner are gambling on baseball and missing payroll payments. McCourt was on the verge of missing a payroll payment. The Wilpons won’t be pushed out by the commish office however I wonder if the other owners and the TV networks might start putting pressure on the Wilpons. After all, the small teams rely on network money and attendance at big games. Nobody wants to pay to see Lucas Duda batting fifth on a New York team (including Met fans).
        • izzy December 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm
          They did force the Dodgers to sell out. Nobody can deny the financial support given by MLB to the Wilpons and the failure to provide any to the dodgers. Of course McCourt is far richer and Dodger fans are far happier than Metsie fans now, so I guess having Selig hate you is good for fans. Thanks again Bud. .
  5. Andrew Lloyd December 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm
    all true and it’s just sad that Beltran, along with other players, leave the organization with a sour taste. There is just no upside in badmouthing players in the press – there really isn’t.

    It’s a shame the Mets organization is so amateurish in this respect. Even Sandy A has a tin ear to this stuff – e.g. his “hilarious” box of chocolates quip re Reyes’ departure.

    Hard to get behind sometimes – but it could be worse. They could be owned by Dolan.

  6. NormE December 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    Let’s imagine a world where Uncle Bud actually does retire. There would be a number of candidates to be his successor including a guy by the name of Sandy. How would the Wilpons feel about his candidacy? Would they view him as an ally or would they fear him as an agent of retribution?
    Just conjecturing.
  7. Steven A December 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm
    People need to be real: no matter how much we all hate the Wilpons, they have not done anything that warrants any commissioner forcing them to sell the team. Absent something on the level of betting on games (i.e. a felony directly related to the game) any attempt by a commissioner to force a sale would lead to years of litigation. Steinbrenner committed a felony and was forced to take a multi-year leave of absence, but not sell the team. The Dodger situation was very different in that McCourt was planning on selling the TV rights upfront and then extracting the proceeds to pay off his wife, something that would have left the Dodgers insolvent. McCourt needed the money to deal with a $300 million divorce settlement, and probably could have held on to the team if he had been properly advised and realized that the team was not worth merely $600 million, but in fact $2 billion. Investing with Madoff is not a crime nor is making consistelntly bad decisions on player personnel. Despite what many people seem to think, the executive committee of Major League Baseball do not have a strategic goal that the New York national league team has to be in contention. Most owners are probably pretty happy with the Wilpons. Also, given the value of the Mets, there will never be any problem refinancing the outstanding debt, and if the Mets start to experience real serious cash flow problems, they can always pull an Astros and simply go down to a $60 million payroll. We have to accept the actuarial fact we are stuck with the Wilpons at least until the grim reaper comes to town on Jeffrey.
  8. izzy December 20, 2013 at 9:04 pm
    Did the Yankees bad mouth Grandy or Cano? Don’t follow them. just asking. The mets feel a need to bad mouth every single guy at the end. They even felt the need to trash a back up infielder who was non tendered. The Met front office and ownership are truly horrible. Maybe Granderson should have talked with Carlos before he put that happy face on, but, I’d be smiling with 60 mil coming my way too. Trash away Wilpon. Just don’t default on my check.
  9. DanB December 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm
    Izzy, my father was a Giant fan who became a Met fan when they moved. I should curse him but in 1986 when we were watching Game 6, he turned to me and said, “watch this next pitch be a wild pitch”. I forgave him for the curse he put on me because of that moment.
  10. argonbunnies December 21, 2013 at 4:27 am
    My thoughts on Beltran:

    1. Any Walter Reed beefs should have been handled internally. Criticizing your own players in the media is both classless and stupid.

    2. Beltran just watched Ryan Church play through a concussion and Reyes play through a torn hamstring/calf, to both players’ extreme detriment. Ignoring the Mets’ wishes and getting his knee treated as best he saw fit might have been the best move he ever made for his career.

    3. Saying you overpaid your players is a clear statement that they aren’t worth their salaries, no matter how much you claim to only be criticizing yourself. Apparently Fred Wilpon only believes that thinking before you speak is only for players (who get courses on media relations as mandated by the team).

    4. As for the fans, in 2005 they got on Beltran for underachieving and for not looking like he was playing particularly hard. I would have liked to see him dive for a few balls he played on hops. Then, the first time he dives all-out, Mike Cameron is doing the same thing, not expecting Carlos to be there.

    Coming back quickly from the collision won Carlos a little love, but sulking about the fan treatment in 2006 and initially refusing a curtain call did not.

    For the next several years, I think Mets fans did appreciate Beltran, we just wished he could have come up with a big hit down the stretch in 2007 or 2008 when we just needed anyone to come through. So the appreciation never turned into a full-on love affair.

    Then he got hurt, which was a disappointment to everyone, and his enfeebled return speeded the 2010 team’s fall from contention (inevitable in hindsight, but not at the time, to many fans).

    In the end, I don’t think Mets fans treated Beltran unfairly. We just proved we care more about team wins than player WAR.

    5. Beltran has never been able to hit a good curve. It would have been nice to see him rise to the occasion and at least foul off a pitch that had that much plate. But expecting him to develop a new skill on the spot isn’t realistic. Probably better to just hope the ump gets fooled by the huge break and calls it a ball. Now, the two preceding pitches are a different story…

    Does anyone remember the first pitch of that AB? Change-up down the middle and down. Carlos crushes that pitch if he’s looking for it, but what reliever throws a first-pitch change-up in that situation? When people talk about Molina’s expert game-calling, this is what I think of.

    • Andrew Lloyd December 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm
      Agree with all of this. Especially the part about sulking early in 2006 – this was where, I think, Beltran made a mistake. You cannot fight the fans – you just can’t. Reminds me a little of Djokovic at the US Open a few years ago.

      The fans always *wanted* to cheer Beltran; he just had a mediocre year in ’05. So, once he sulked and refused the curtain call at first, it seemed ungrateful and spiteful.

      In the end, he’s a great player – definitely sensitive – but I would’ve liked to see him back. He’s probably still a better player at this stage than Granderson, although he doesn’t have the sunny disposition. Course, sunny dispositions don’t win ballgames…

  11. CleonJames December 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm
    Beltran, a class act all the way, but also human. He may hit 40 HRs for the Yankees as DH. That’s where he belongs now, sad to say.