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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 [1], 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.