One Tuesday, two press conferences. First the Mets. They make it official that Carlos Beltran has signed a seven-year contract to play centerfield and bat in the middle of their order. He smiles and calls his new employers the New Mets. The smirks are barely suppressed. Then the circus packs up and hauls ass across the Triborough for the second show, the main event, the Yankees’ introduction of Randy Johnson, just acquired from Arizona. Johnson is an all-timer and a Diamondback hero. But Johnson has had enough of his home-area team’s rebuilding program (it had been more than three years since the 2001 World Series) and he wants another ring. A trade to the Yankees…yeah, that’s the ticket.
The Big Unit gets the big coverage. Maybe he ensured that with his shove of a Channel 2 cameraman the day before. Maybe he’s a slightly bigger story that Tuesday and on the front and back pages that Wednesday because Beltran’s news leaked out over the weekend. Maybe it’s because he’s a future Hall of Famer and the Yankees are the Yankees. The Mets, after all, are the Mets.
It’s almost exactly two years later. Half of the featured attractions of January 11, 2005 are gone. Is gone. The Yankees have traded Randy Johnson, his bad back, his advanced age, his disappointing performance, his dyspeptic personality and cash back to Arizona for a middle reliever and some minor leaguers. They couldn’t wait to get him, they couldn’t wait to get rid of him.
Carlos Beltran helped the same old Mets of the early 2000s become the New Mets as advertised of 2005 and led them into becoming the powerhouse Mets of 2006 and, knock wood, years to come.
I think we had a better Tuesday.