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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

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Carlos Goes Out of Network

Carlos Beltran is out for a projected twelve weeks — three or so months of not just not playing, but also not practicing — after surprise arthoscopic surgey on his right knee to address osteoarthritis that was causing him too much pain to continue offseason training. I say “surprise,” because it reportedly wasn’t on the Mets’ radar or at least wasn’t done with the Mets’ blessing.

Part of me doesn’t blame Beltran for avoiding the Mets’ hierarchy, given their uninspiring track record handling injuries. Still, you probably have to tell them.

Let’s hope Carlos is feeling spry soon. Let’s hope we’re looking all right with Angel Pagan or some other stopgap in center before Beltran is back. Let’s hope our walking 2009 wounded are actually on the way back in 2010 before we pencil them in as healthy. When it comes to figuring out what might happen with the Mets, it may be best to use disappearing ink.

14 comments to Carlos Goes Out of Network

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Carlos made the right decision but I wonder if management is angry because he didn’t opt for surgery a few weeks sooner. Not waiting until after the holidays might have enabled him to begin working out toward the end of spring training. Now, rather than missing the first ten games of the season he’ll probably be missing the first month instead.

  • Gio

    Yikes. Granted, the Mets’ medical staff stinks, but still. It’s a slap in the face to the fans, too, because how can we not feel betrayed? He’s mild-mannered, yes, but Beltran has to know that he’s a star, and that this stinks for all of us who hoped to put 2009 behind us. I’m more than confident that Pagan can play center… the main issues are that Pagan starting takes a bat off the bench, and if Bay’s defense isn’t 100% great, Beltran’s stellar defense won’t be able to back him up.

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    Hope he returns in good enough shape to patrol centerfield as soon as possible after Opening Day. While I agree he ought to have told the Mets more about his condition and his intent to have the surgery, I have little faith any alternative they would have put forth would have been better. These are the guys for whom day-to-day rapidly morphs into a fifteen day DL visit and from there to season ending.

  • Jacobs27

    Look on the bright side, at least right now Mets management can’t hold off putting him on the DL so they can watch the team play with a 24-man roster.

  • Andee

    I’m sure more, much more, will be revealed over time.

    But I can easily imagine a scenario in which Beltran went in for what he thought was going to be a routine scopeout, and then the doctor — having seen things on the monitor during the arthroscopy that would not be apparent on an MRI or office exam — said something like this to Beltran:

    “Carlos, it’s a train wreck in there. You have a choice to make: You can get some temporary pain relief from this and start your season, but it’s not going to last, and three months from now you’ll be right back at square one. If we go in there and do the microfracture, you have a much better shot at long-term pain relief and long-term career prospects, although neither one is guaranteed, and you’ll have to wait at least four months or so before you can even start doing workouts. If we sew you back up today, you’ll have to wait longer to have it done; I’d advise doing this right now and losing as little time as possible.”

    Beltran would be quite understandably freaked to hear this, and would no doubt say, “Okay, let’s do it,” figuring the team would go along with it once they knew the whole scenario.

    Unfortunately for him, the words “microfracture surgery” probably short-circuited the FO’s collective brainworks, and it’s understandable that they would panic. Beltran is their best player. His knees have always been a problem and are never going to not be a problem. Players have lost their careers to this surgery when it didn’t work. Other players have eventually recovered, but it took a long damn time. Greg Oden, the Blazers’ phenom, had MF surgery right before what was supposed to be his rookie season, and wound up missing the whole thing. And he was just 19; Beltran is almost 33. This is NOT a surgery to have casually; it could make things a lot better OR a lot worse. The track record is mixed, to say the least.

    It does seem rather far-fetched that Beltran would have secretly planned this surgery in advance and not told them, and it also seems equally far-fetched that they would sue him for it. This is not Luis Castillo or Oliver Perez, a player most fans would be more than happy to send packing. This is, if not THE most popular Met, certainly in the top 4, and very well respected by his teammates, who almost certainly would back him up. It would be suicidal for them to go after him; the hospital, maybe, the doctor, maybe, Scott Boras, maybe (if he was in on this and the team wasn’t), but not Beltran himself. If they wanted to pick the one thing they could do to ensure that no free agent would ever sign with them again for any amount of money, they almost couldn’t pick a better one. Even if they toyed with the idea, it’s hard to believe they’d actually go there.

    But they really, really need to knock off the “he’ll be back in April” BS. They know no such thing. They pulled these shenanigans over and over again last year, when they must have known that the injuries to Beltran, Reyes, and Delgado weren’t just owies that needed a few weeks’ rest, but tried to make them sound that way. It makes the player look bad, like he’s jaking it or he’s “soft” (really? Beltran soft? who makes up this crap?) if he doesn’t come back as quickly as promised. The Blazers, at least, didn’t BS the fans who’d bought tickets hoping to see Oden that he’d be right back in a jiffy; they knew it would take a miracle for that to happen.

    • Yeah, still a lot to find out. And i’m sure things are beign exaggerated.

      It sounds like the Mets wanted to be conservative, and Beltran just wanted to be back as soon as possible. 8-12 weeks to baseball activies and then what, a month? is so vague. It doesn’t seem unreasonable though, but then again, anything can happen. I think the Mets knew he wanted to go this route, and it sounds like maybe the doctor got the Mets doctors to admit that surgery would be a solution, therefore Beltran can do it (his contract says he doesn’t need their permission to do so if it’s not elective).

      The Mets doctors have a bad rap, and that needs to be corrected, but had it not been for 2009, this wouldn’t have been a big deal for him to go to the #1 Knee doctor. Weren’t the Yankees lauded for sending A-Rod to the #1 hip doctor, out of network? The difference is the Yankees never balked at the idea of surgery and controlled the message, and didn’t have a black mark on their doctors to worry about.

  • dmg

    props to andee. covers all the ground like a healthy beltran would. only thing i can add is that even if it wasn’t exactly the scenario she suggests — i.e., discovered and handled immediately — even if it was bothering him as he tried to do off-season maintenance, i think it pretty natural for him to hold off initially to see if it would correct itself.

    you don’t do knee surgery casually (even arthroscopic), especially if you’re a professional athlete, especially if it’s back into an old injury. it’s not like there’s a zipper on it. (i’ve had work done on my right knee, and it takes a while for it to feel sound, let alone shake the feeling that something might give again.) for beltran to submit to the knife again, it must have been bothering him quite a bit. it could be he rushed back before he should have last season.

    so the sports radio hysteria — last night, steve sommers was asking whether the mets could void beltran’s contract — is as misplaced as it is ignorant. much as i detest bringing them up, the skanks provide a useful comparison: they managed nicely with a-rod out of the lineup for the first part of last season, and look how that worked out for him, and for the team.

  • CharlieH

    FUCKPISSWANKBUGGERSHITTINGASSHEADANDHOLE.

  • Sheesh, we do have a lot of injuries here in the ACME Anvil Hoisting Works.

    Charlie, glad to see you’ve been testing the bad word filter.

  • Guy Kipp

    Considering that probably no Met player was tighter with deposed Tony Bernazard, it doesn’t seem surprising that Beltran wouldn’t be deferential to the wishes of the front office at this point.