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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Other Guys

Tonight’s lineup:

Jose Reyes – SS
Willie Harris – 2B
Daniel Murphy – 1B
David Wright – 3B
Angel Pagan – CF
Jason Bay – LF
Lucas Duda – RF
Ronny Paulino – C
Mike Pelfrey – RHP

No Carlos Beltran, as he is about to be gone for real, to San Francisco by all reports, in exchange for someone we hope will make us better in the long term and to save a few bucks besides. Dealing Carlos Beltran to the Giants for young righthanded pitcher Zack Wheeler makes as much sense as something like this can.

Thus, there is about to go Carlos Beltran, one of the best players we have, one of the best players we’ve ever had. Only the details are news at this point. We’ve known this day has been coming, and we’re in the 24-hour period in which it will definitively come as soon as i’s and t’s receive their respective dots, crosses and blessings.

Carlos Beltran becoming a Met was no sure thing in 2005. The Mets were no sure thing before 2005, at least when it came to respectability. Carlos changed that. He elevated what it meant to be a fan of this team. You entered a season with Carlos Beltran as your best player, you figured you had improved, and you did. Others came and still others improved and 2006 became the kind of year about which we could only dream before 2005. Beltran led the way there chronologically, statistically and artistically. Carlos and the other Carlos and Paul and Billy and Xavier and Duaner and Endy. Carlos and Pedro, first, then all those other guys to add to whatever was being fastened into place prior to 2005.

That was a great year. It’s been over for quite a while, but it’s still a great year. Carlos Beltran had a great year. He had a couple of other really, really good ones, as the Mets almost did in the years that followed. The year he’s been having in 2011, however, might have been the best one he’s had as a Met since 2006. It’s the year he shook off everything that had curdled since 2006 and elevated again what it meant to be a fan of this team. Carlos and Jose and Murph and Justin and Jon and Dillon and Izzy and Terry. And everybody, just about. The 2011 Mets weren’t constructed the way the 2006 Mets were. They just kind of happened, and they happened to have provided more fun for more months than any Mets team has in five years, probably. They didn’t have a helluva chance to compete for tangible rewards before Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler was worked out, and they’ll quite likely have even less once Beltran is officially a Giant, but I’m guessing they’ll still compete the way they have, and that will provide us with its own reward.

I’ll miss Carlos Beltran. It’s only sinking in how much I’ll miss Carlos Beltran. Those he leaves behind, though…them I’ll continue to enjoy, individually and as a unit. I wouldn’t have believed that in April. I might not believe it by the end of September. I believe it for now.

Here’s to the other guys. Let’s stay elevated.

19 comments to The Other Guys

  • BlackCountryMet

    Respect to Carlos, overall he served us well. Doesn’t seem to be a bad trade, this Wheeler seems to be promising. Players come players go, only fans remain a constant. You root for your team regardless, sometimes it’s easier than others

  • steve

    “they happened to have provided more fun for more months than any Mets team has in five years, probably.”

    I couldn’t agree more Greg. Alas, many Met fans a) won’t grasp that and b) won’t realize just how much of an honor it has been to watch Beltran play (when healthy).

    • Lenny65

      A-men, brother. Too many so-called “fans” are still locked into the “oh, they suck so bad” mindset to notice the genuine progress the Mets have made this season. It’s the same reason so many people are jumping on the “Beltran sucked” bandwagon and failing to recognize he’s been nothing short of one of the best position players they’ve ever had. Just my opinion, but when the best anti-Beltran argument you can make is, “he should have been slightly better”, it’s weak.

  • kd bart

    After starting 5-13 and being completely unwatchable, it’s amazing that they’re even a game over .500 at this point and a pleasure to watch. This team gives an effort every night. Good luck, Carlos. Beat the Phils in the playoffs.

  • 9th string catcher

    I look at it this way – the Mets were due for another injury casualty that they would have to work around anyway, so this is like Beltran going down with a strained oblique which at the outset would take 2 weeks to heal and end up with him shut down for the rest of the year (although we wouldn’t know this for another month or so). I refuse to give up on this team – in fact, they generally do better with their stars out of the lineup, so let’s see what Pridie and Harris and Hairston can do! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No! And it’s not over now!

    • open the gates

      It wasn’t even over when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. :)

      But yeah, I get your point. And Lucas Duda will never be Carlos Beltran, but being Lucas Duda may just be good enough. With help from Pridie, Harris, Hairston, Turner, et al.

    • March'62

      I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.

      We’re just the guys to do it.

  • vertigone

    I hate to see him go but San Fran is an easier pill to swallow than one of the NL East variety.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    I think it was a pretty good deal for the mets. We got a number one pitching prospect and we know how bad we need pitching.

  • Danny K

    Thanks for the great words about Carlos. I’m glad that Mets’ fans finally realized what a pleasure he was to have on the team. I’m just shocked it took so long.

  • Dave

    Guy spent much of his Mets career as a Gold Glove CF’er who drove in and scored 100+ runs in a season…yet people have to be almost apologetic about respecting him and acknowledging his value to the team because of one fateful pitch that froze him.

    He isn’t going to go play for the cheesesteak eaters down the Turnpike, Zach Wheeler immediately becomes our highest rated prospect…could all be good. Good luck to Carlos in SF. How long is he still going to be leading the Mets in HR’s and RBI’s?

  • Lenny65

    Hey, if the Mets weren’t unloading silly contracts and trying to get some value out of FA’s-to-be, the media talking heads would be ripping them for being delusional and short-sighted. I ignore that chatter and base my feelings regarding the team on what they do on the field every day and what I’m seeing is the most cohesive, fundamentally sound Mets squad I’ve seen since pre-All Star break 2007. They’re a far cry from the dead-eyed, shuffling, bumbling incompetents of 2009-10 and they’ve been a hell of a lot more fun to watch. No, sticking it in the faces of the pre-season naysayers isn’t exactly the same as winning it all but for right now, I’ll take it.

  • Ken K. from NJ

    (fundamentally sound Mets squad ..)

    Um, I wouldn’t go THAT far.

    Murphy, no-matter-where-plays in the field, he’s not fundamentally anything. Duda reminds me of Swoboda in the OF, the occasional spectacular catch (usually due to a poor route to begin with) but scary overall. Then there’s Wright and his sidearm slings from third. Reyes, for all his MVP qualities this year, still can make a poor judgement play or just plain mess up at SS. Pagan has taken a couple steps backward this year in the field. Neither of the catchers are great defenders. Now that I’m thinking about it, Bay’s actually been one of the more fundamentally sound players. Good field no hit, who would’ve figured…

    • Lenny65

      Perhaps I should have re-phrased “fundamentally sound” as it does imply that I meant it in a “mistake-free” way. The really encouraging thing about this season so far is how they’re playing better team baseball. None of the starters are prone to digging insurmountable holes after two innings of work, they’re getting runners home with two outs, the bullpen isn’t imploding regularly, bench players and farm hands are contributing, they’re “picking each other up” as the old saying goes. In other words they’re the exact opposite of the 2009-10 teams, two of the most colossally boring Mets teams I ever remember watching.

      I’m under no illusions about them winning anything, but the bottom line is we’re nearing the end of July and I’m still seriously enjoying Mets baseball as opposed to enduring it. After the hell of the last four seasons, I can live with that for now.

  • Joe D.

    Yes, even though I understood the reason to trade Beltran from a business perspective, I was still quite angry that ownership put the Mets in a position that they had no other choice. Truly believe other franchises in the same situation would have gambled they could negotiate a new contract for their top run producer and defensive star after the year was up.

    Also notice we’re now learning that instead of being a self-absorbed multi-millionaire ball player he had taken the role of the veteran leading the young by example both on the field and in the clubhouse, letting teammates know when they were dogging it, helping them with their batting, etc., even when sick with the flu (spending 45 minutes trying to help Justin Turner in the batting cage).

    Those types of intangibles one does not just get rid of.

    Three hours later. His replacement homers and the Mets square off against Cincinnati pitching in a romp. Marvelous Murph has four hits and Pelfrey pitches a complete game gem, allowing two earned ones (one by way a freakish bounce off padding that stuck out in right enabling the batter to get to third and score on a sacrifice fly).

    So are we now going to let our emotions accept the business aspect and feel Duda might be an adequate replacement with his career all ahead of him while Beltran’s is on the horizon? Is there a minor league prospect we’re not aware of yet? Will we give Alderson the benefit of the doubt that his decision came from a baseball perspective (that as hot as he is now, Beltran would not keep it going in 2012 and 2013 and thus he would rather get a top rated pitching prospect to go along with Harvey and give Duda his shot at playing everyday) more than that of a ledger book?

    I think it’s a combination of the two, with the pendulum weighing heavily on the finance side, not the baseball one. Oh well, it wasn’t personal, it was strictly business.

    Carlos will certainly be missed but it might be a tribute to the character of the 24 he left behind that they will not let the loss of their best power hitter and closer stop them from winning. It will be something, of course, if in a few years we refer to this as the Wheeler trade and the Giants are kicking themselves. But still, the circumstances surrounding the decision stink.

    Goodbye Carlos. Most of us lauded your play and hustle and concluded that you were a better breed than your owners.

  • Andee

    Joe, all I’m gonna say is…you could have said the same thing about the Phillies and Jayson Werth. He was their best righthanded bat last year, and they let him walk rather than get into a bidding war with teams like the Gnationals. (And it looks like they dodged a bullet there, too. Poor Gnats.)

    So it’s not just the Mets who put limits on their spending. Heck, the whole reason we got Beltran in the first place was that even the Yankees couldn’t make room on their payroll for him at the time.

    And I’m sad to see Beltran go too, I really am. Like others have said, I think knowledgeable fans knew how good he was, but the pit-scratching hominid contingent probably didn’t have a clue.

    But Zack Wheeler is more than I thought they’d get for a 2-month rental in his 30s with knee issues who can’t be offered arb; turns out that with the year he’s having, he’d probably decline it anyway and go for another multi-year deal, at possibly more per year than he gets now. So I’m glad we got him on this contract; the next one might not be such a bargain.

    And yeah, I’m very happy he’s not wearing a Phillies or Braves uni. If it’s one of those teams against the Giants in the playoffs, I know who I’m rooting for.

    • Joe D.

      Hi Andee,

      Should have added that with the Mets just 7/12 games out (seven in the loss side) many teams have made up similar deficits in less time (including us the opposite way in 2007). I don’t believe the Mets should be buyers at this point (remember the disaster of 2004?) but considering that they have played above .500 without Wright and if Santana comes back in September (which would be like a one month rental without the rent) they should not have been a seller, either.

      If Carlos continues to hit like he does, the Mets lose a few close games in which a hit or sacrifice would have turned into victories and they come as close as five or so games behind, then expect a lot of fans feeling we could have pulled off something had they not gotten rid of their best power hitter and closer.

  • open the gates

    Carlos Beltran was the best all-around non-pitcher the Mets have ever had. Period.

    I can’t help but be amazed at the “don’t let the door hit you on your way out” attitude expressed by many Met fans. Reminds me of the ’80’s Met fans who scorned Davey Johnson for merely winning 90+ games a year. Like Davey, Carlos will be most missed when he’s been gone awhile.

    And you know what, people need to get over Beltran’s last AB of ’06. As if swinging and missing would have been somehow more honorable. Because no one was hitting that pitch. Not even Fred From Flushing. You tip your hat to Mr. Wainwright and you move on. As Beltran did.