I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on TV, I don't pretend to be able to make diagnoses while watching TV which also means I'm not the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. But never mind that right now. What's important is what condition Carlos Beltran's condition is in. Because when he went down on the Minute Maid grass in the ninth inning after making one of the Web Gemmiest, game-savingest catches you'll ever see in a critical moment, all I could think was…
…so much for winning the World Series.
My lack of medical training notwithstanding, seeing him not being on carried on a stretcher or lifted onto a cart was a positive sign. Seeing him walk through the dugout was encouraging. And hearing him afterwards on WFAN, all things considered, was very good news.
He says he can't bend his left knee. That doesn't sound helpful for a centerfielder and third-place hitter who uses his knees a lot. But if I had just run into what he had run into, there'd be a lot I couldn't bend. Carlos Beltran's condition is better than the condition my condition is in. Ed Coleman said he sounded fine. Indeed, the should-be MVP of the National League was quite with it, answered things calmly and, from the sound of the audio, without his teeth clenched. (Maybe Bill Frist can divine whether, in fact, he was clenching his teeth.) He's going for tests and, well, we'll see. (X-Rays In: Negative. It's called a bruise for now.)
The beauty of a 16-1/2 game lead with 28 games left is he can ice it, whirlpool it, tape it, whatever it takes. In the short-term, it barely matters. Endy Chavez will never lose playing time on this club because there's always an outfielder who's going down. Appendectomy? Achilles? I just saved Billy Wagner's bacon by crashing into the chain link fence of that funhouse yahoo excuse for a regulation baseball facility? It's Endy to the rescue. I'm not worried about tomorrow or this coming week.
Of course we need Carlos Beltran for October. I'm not a doctor, but I'm going to cross my fingers and be confident that we can be hopeful that our luck will hold out. We got Tom back last night. We got Cliff back tonight. We got a lot going for us. Much of that is Beltran's doing.
It was, incidentally, nothing like that disaster in Petco Park from last August except for one thing. In San Diego, Willie gave Jose Reyes a rare day off. In Houston, Willie gave Jose Reyes a rare day off. If Beltran is our MVP, Reyes is his facilitator. Stop resting him twice a year.
Oh, and I hate the fans of Houston more than ever. Yes, there was some obligatory applauding the guy who had given his body over to baseball when he showed he wasn't dead, but I'm sure I heard booing. People who boo Carlos Beltran yet value Roger Clemens? I can't say it enough: Bunch of yahoos. Hey, I'm sure there's a football game going on somewhere down the block. Maybe you'd be happier there. Or at a two-way rifle range.
Minute Maid is a farce. Maine pitches beautifully but is burned on a Lance Berkman pop fly to left that goes into something called the Crawford Boxes. Does anybody check with MLB to ascertain whether dimensions are regulation anymore? (The answer is no.) This series is now about more than reducing our magic number even more. I really hope we beat these SOBs in their useless, overly humid, backwards, nothing-to-do cowtown with their rodeo fans and their tightwad management.
You wanted to keep Beltran? Then you should have given him the no-trade clause he wanted. He only led to you to the edge of the promised land and you treat him like dirt. Yes, there were idiots here who did that last year. It's inexcusable, but it was a plurality, not a majority. I'm not a doctor and I'm not a hearing technician, but I could tell last season and this that it's an overwhelming percentage of Astros fans who can't get over Carlos Beltran, their rent-a-player who gave them everything he had, leaving them because he couldn't get the deal he wanted from Drayton McLane.
I've been trying to put this in a Met perspective. The obvious correlation is Mike Hampton, ironically an ex-Astro. Hampton came for one year, the last year on his contract. He was very effective for most of 2000, especially the NLCS. The Mets negotiated a little with him but he never showed much interest in sticking around. I think he's reviled here — though not nearly as much as Beltran there — for the schools crack, because it was so transparent. Did Beltran ever say anything that stupid about Houston or give the impression that he was going to dedicate his life and future to Harris County, Texas?
Mets fans booed Ken Griffey for vetoing a trade that would have brought him here. I was among them. It was kind of silly. But Ken Griffey was never a Met. Carlos Beltran was an Astro. He didn't make lifelong proclamations of loyalty to Houston the way Johnny Damon did with Boston, and Beltran didn't go to a blood rival of the Astros, if in fact the Astros have a blood rival (besides apathy). Him making that catch was very sweet. Of course he won't play Sunday, which is too bad, because I'd love to see him do more damage to their dwindling playoff chances.
Oh well. If not him, then there's a couple dozen other Mets who can pick up the slack.
I'm too worked up to salute the delightful dozen right now. Before the next game, I promise.