The New York Mets would be 100 percent justified to stick by Carlos Beltran after the Houston Astros cheating scandal that rocked baseball.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight: If the media feels disrespected over Beltran commenting on the issues differently with them than he did with MLB officials, get over it. The only conversations that matter involve Beltran and the investigators.
And MLB, in its infinite wisdom, decided to single out Beltran by mentioning only him and not one other player. That does not mean Beltran was the prime ringleader. The Astros and Boston Red Sox have decided to part ways with those involved in these issues, but that does not mean the Mets would or should follow suit.
I am not privy to the contents of the report, but to say this taints championships is downright silly. It would be like saying the 1988 Red Sox were denied a title thanks to the Oakland A’s’ steroid use. Or, that the rampant steroid use in the Yankee clubhouse taints any of their successful seasons.
We all know Yankees blew a 3-0 lead to the BoSox, but the previous year, they should have lost the ALCS on Aaron Boone night had Jason Giambi not been allowed to drag his body to the plate and hit a long-ball in Game 7. Or what if we surmised Andy Pettitte had a great turnaround in the 1996 series vs. the Atlanta Braves in his second start of the series due to some chemical advancements?
The truth is, nobody can assume such things. The championships were won and baseball marches forward. Rewriting the history books in some backward NCAA order makes no sense.
But back to the Beltran issue. I am not defending anything that happened in that Astro dugout, but the bottom line is, sign stealing has occurred forever in baseball.
I was convinced the Phils were stealing Met signs in 2007 and rumors I heard (although I never received confirmation) were the Phils deployed high-tech sign-stealing involving a plethora of people. But to my knowledge, MLB never investigated it.
How well do I know Beltran? Very well and likely much better than most Met reporters. But I can tell you that as long as he told the truth to MLB investigators, his mission was officially accomplished. Spilling his soul to neither a reporter nor a columnist is a non-issue because, in the court of public opinion, every comment can be twisted and turned like a country road.
Beltran’s public comments pass the test and firing him makes no sense. Somehow, the experts want to drag the Mets in the mud here even though they did not receive an advantage from any of this sign stealing. Yes, they hired Beltran as manager, and I believe they got full disclosure from him in the interview process. And to me, the risk was worth hiring Beltran.
In fact, I think when the dust clears after the 2020 season, we will all see how not only did the Mets pick the right man, but the Yankees, in hiring Aaron Boone, might have picked the wrong man.
I know how things work in this town. If the media could blame Met ownership for Original Sin, they’d place the organization in The Garden Of Eden proving they fed Adam the apple. The first interview session for Beltran in Port St Lucie will be a tough day for the Mets. But, to be honest, Beltran has seen this before… and so have I.
From the moment he appeared on the scene, the baseball analysts never focused on the most important thing: his abilities as a player. It was always something else, i.e. he only wanted to be a Yankee and never wanted to be here. And we all know the only thing anyone ever talks about is taking a third strike in Game 7 of NLCS—even an ex-teammate who trolled him on Twitter.
Now don’t get me wrong, if Beltran was heavily involved in this scandal, he should be punished; but MLB decided that punishment was not appropriate for him or any other player involved, yet they felt the need to include his name in a statement. And I can not evaluate the proper punishment unless I see the report and discern his involvement in comparison to others.
So the big question of the day is, “Should the Mets fire Beltran?”
That is an organizational decision and here’s a newsflash: that is not done by a popular vote of media members. Beltran will address this issue, but believe me when I tell you this: he knows it won’t go away whether he wins or loses as a first-year Met manager.
And knowing him well, I can safely tell you that Carlos Beltran does not worry about the things he can’t control and the opinions of his detractors fall into that category. His grade as a Met manager will solely rest on wins and losses and not his involvement in this scandal.
Firing him in a copycat fashion because other organizations took that route makes no sense. He will address the media in a session that will make Jack Nicholson’s testimony in A Few Good Men look tame. Most importantly, he understands he’ll eventually be evaluated by Met fans on his level of success sitting in the manager’s chair and that alone will dictate his level of success—just like Andy Pettitte’s career is evaluated on his performance on the field and not by his steroid use.