Jul 25

Beltran holds cards, but can’t be too picky.

Carlos Beltran has stated a preference of staying in the National League where he can play the outfield, but his first preference is to go to a contender, so Boston and Texas remain in play. He has veto power over any deal and hasn’t ruled out the Red Sox or Rangers, but has made it clear the American League isn’t his first choice.

BELTRAN: Can't disregard AL possibility.

Beltran doesn’t want to limit himself by being pigeonholed as a designated hitter because that shrinks his market, and subsequently what his next free agent contract might bring

“Right now, when they approach me about the teams, then I will decide if I would love to go to that place or not,’’ Beltran told reporters in Miami this weekend. “I made it clear to them that teams that are in contention are the ones that I’m willing to go to. … Right now, I feel so comfortable with the National League. I’ve been here seven years. I feel comfortable here. … It’s just seven years that I haven’t played in the American League.

“But let’s see. I mean, it’s going to be convenient for the organization, for sure, but it also has to be convenient for me. If it’s convenient for both, we move forward.’’

Beltran showed flexibility this spring with his willingness to move to right field, where he has stayed healthy and produced. He needs to continue to show flexibility this week if a trade is presented him to an American League team.

Beltran can’t take too hard line a stance because he can’t take it for granted he’ll never be presented with the DH choice. Beltran has stayed healthy after two years on the mend, but what if after this season a National League team is reluctant to offer him more than two years, fearing he was lucky this season?

It is one thing to show the market you can play the outfield, it is another thing to make too much of that demand where you alienate future buyers.

Beltran would be foolish to turn down Boston or Texas where if he played well he might parlay it into an extension. He can’t take the risk of vetoing a trade to an American League team and staying with the Mets and possibly getting injured and hurting his position in the market.

Most likely any trade for Beltran would be a rental, but good things can happen off a rental and if being the DH in Fenway Park can save some wear and tear on his needs, he needs to accept that option.

 

Sep 28

This Day in Baseball History ….

Ted Williams says good-bye.

Ted Williams says good-bye.

In 1960, in his final major league plate appearance, Ted Williams homers off Baltimore’s Jack Fisher at Fenway Park, with a 450-foot drive over the Red Sox bullpen.

 

It was Williams’ 521st homer, placing him third on the all-time list at the time.

Williams does not take a curtain call, but after taking his position in left field, he is replaced by Carroll Hardy and given a standing ovation as he returns to the dugout.

Williams averaged .344 with 37 homers and 130 RBI a season during his career. Had he not spend five years serving in the military during World War II and the Korean War, it is staggering to think what his career numbers would have been.

Aug 26

My brush with greatness ….

The year was 1998, the season of the great home run race and when the Yankees steamrolled through Major League Baseball. It was also the year Cal Ripken’s streak came to an end.

KENNEDY: My brush with greatness.

KENNEDY: My brush with greatness.


That was also my first year on the Yankees beat and I’ll always remember a flight I took from Boston to Washington. I was sitting in the exit row by a window reading a magazine when this man plopped down in the aisle seat. I recognized him immediately, and a few minutes later he extended his hand and said, “I’m Ted Kennedy.”

I said, “I know,” and introduced myself. A few minutes later, I told him, “in all fairness, I should tell you I’m a newspaper reporter.” I didn’t think it would be right for him to be ambushed the next day in the papers by something he might have said or done.

He appreciated the gesture and we began to chat. When I told him I covered baseball, he responded with stories of how his father, Joseph, took him and his brothers to games in Fenway Park. He then spoke of the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run race and Ripken.

I told him I once wrote a term paper my freshman year in college about him. I was a big liberal at the time.

Not once did we talk of politics or social issues. I figured he gets that all the time. I did want to tell him how touched I was about the eulogy he gave for his brother, Robert, but wasn’t sure if it would strike a sad nerve. I always wonder what he might have said had I brought it up.

It was a pleasant conversation. After awhile, he started reading some files and I returned to my magazine. We started talking again before the end of the flight, and when we landed we shook hands and went our separate ways.

I was surprised nobody bothered him during the flight and nobody approached him at the gate when we left the plane. A few days later, I sent him a note telling him how I enjoyed our conversation.

I told my editor of the meeting, and his response was a curt, “What in the hell were you doing in first class?”

Jun 08

Your concern level ….

Just taking your temperature on your concern level with the Mets as they head into the roughest part of their schedule. Upcoming over the next few weeks are the Phillies twice, Yankees twice, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.

And, they’ll be playing with questions in their rotation, notably Mike Pelfrey and John Maine being erratic; a strained bullpen; and numerous offensive issues. Is Gary Sheffield out of gas? Will Daniel Murphy hit like he did in the beginning of the season? And, will David Wright and Carlos Beltran start hitting with some power?

With the exception of Johan Santana starting tomorrow night, the pitching match-ups in the Philadelphia series favor the Phillies. Against superior pitching, the Mets aren’t hitting enough to compensate for their pitching deficiencies.

When you look at the Mets overall, they are closer to being the team that was swept at Los Angeles than the team that won two of three at Fenway Park.

The Mets need to hang close until late July to see where they are at the trade deadline. Given their upcoming schedule, a losing streak is definitely possible. More possible than a lengthy winning roll. This isn’t a team built to where they can climb out of a 10-game hole.

If you cheer for the Mets, your concern level should be high.