Life after Carlos Beltran begins for the New York Mets while damage control may be a little too tough this time around for baseball.
One has to wonder to what degree Carlos Beltran was involved in this baseball cheating scandal that cost him his job, opportunity to manage again and possible Hall of Fame induction.
He goes down with an asterisk next to his name and with the shortest reign as New York Mets manager.
All of that does not matter now. The Mets did what they had to do, even though Beltran was not suspended by Major League Baseball as the lone player mentioned as part of the Houston Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scheme—the year the Astros won a World Series
So Beltran, along with manager A.J. Hinch of the Astros and Alex Cora of the Red Sox, all culprits of that team, is without a job.
Perhaps that juiced-ball theory can be attributed (at least in part) to this scandal with a record number of home runs hit out of major league ballparks the past few years. Or maybe that Aroldis Chapman 84 mph slider that Jose Altuve smacked and advanced the Astros to another ALCS over the Yankees in October can be explained just a bit easier.
Was that ALCS walk-off attributed to a scandal that has rocked baseball. Can the collective and damning information do far more damage than the Black Sox, Pete Rose and that Steroid Era that was supposed to doom the game?
All of this is speculation. We do know, baseball is in trouble, though cheating has always been a part of the game. But, this time, they got nailed. Beltran and the others failed in their scheme and it cost them their jobs and much of this is attributed to technology.
Who is responsible? Many, including the greed and money that has ruined baseball and professional sports, except boxing, where scandals are always accepted and they always seem to move on past their black eye.
But the goal of those who play in the major leagues is to win—different from boxing—a team sport, and at any cost because this billion-dollar industry.
This, by all means, is not over. The Red Sox part of the alleged scandal is ongoing, under Cora, and their 2018 World Series championship remains scrutinized. There are numerous reports—from reliable sources—that more than two teams are involved in such an elaborate sign-stealing scheme.
And that does not rule out the New York Yankees, no matter what they say about the Bronx Bombers always going by the book. And we know that isn’t always the truth thanks to the steroid scandals of Jason Giambi and someone known as A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez).
Let’s leave that for another day. And let’s focus here on the Mets and their inability to get this right or wrong.
The timeline of Beltran’s hiring places the Mets as an innocent employer hiring a new manager. They went ahead and hired a successor to Mickey Callaway after an extensive search.
Now, they have to search again for a manager with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie in 28 days.
The decision came down Thursday afternoon. Beltran and the Mets parted ways in a fashion that was expected. Now, the Mets are back to the drawing board and looking for their next manager.
“We have to think about distractions and the best position to win,” said general manager Brodie Van Wagenen in a conference call with the media. “This is a person that we believed was the best person to lead our team. As the weeks and months have unfolded, it became clear that wasn’t the case.”
Brodie admitted the decision was difficult, and it should have been. Carlos Beltran was popular and was supposed to guide the Mets to a championship.
“I truly feel like he (Beltran) could have brought a lot of value to the Mets organization and helped the team out a lot,” said a former Beltran teammate and Mets pitcher.
He said, about the scandal that has rocked baseball, “I feel for the fans as a whole. And understand their emotions. Moving forward, I believe this will help MLB. We will have growing pains and this is a perfect example to show us just how diligent we will need to be in the future to safeguard our game.”
Brodie is now fully engaged in a relentless search with a tight deadline here as they put this behind them. Remember, what this does to the entire coaching staff remains to be seen.
But as Brodie said about the search, “I don’t think the values that we’re looking for have changed. This team is one that we believe in. This team is one that we believe can contend, and we want to make sure we have the right support system around them to achieve their success.”
He added, “That includes, ultimately, a new manager.”
A manager that will hopefully end this brief and ugly dark eye for the Mets, though Beltran was a culprit and the Mets had no other choice and followed the lead of the Astros and Red Sox.
Unfortunately, we could not witness the value Beltran could have brought to the table. The next manager has to have the same goals and guidelines.
Who will that be? Luis Rojas, Eduardo Perez, Buck Showalter? Tony DeFrancesco, who managed the Mets’ Syracuse Triple-A affiliate was in place as the first base coach.
He is not a logical choice. Remember, he was interim manager for the Astros prior to Hinch and that 2017 team, and the Mets would not want to go that route. Hensley Meulens? He was appointed bench coach, for Beltran, with no previous managerial experience.
Regardless, the Mets are back to square one and they need a manager. Carlos Beltran, well… he will resurface one day.
Major League Baseball is another story. This time, damage control could be too tough to handle.