Carlos Beltran's Play Epitome of the New York Mets' Problem

ed feverCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 19:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets at bat against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field on April 19, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

If I had to sum up in one play, what's wrong with the New York Mets, it would be Carlos Beltran's play at the plate. No; I'm not one of those Beltran bashers, in fact, I think he's probably the best all-a-round player on the team.

Unfortunately, for Beltran, that one play serves as a perfect example, on so many levels, how a team with the best pen in the league and third best batting average, can be below 500.

Before you say it must be the rotation, I agree that they haven't been impressive, but the most runs scored against them, so far this season is eight runs. There hasn't been any 11 run innings or complete lopsided blow outs, the most the Mets have lost by in any game is two runs.

Back to Beltran's play; for those of you who missed it, the score was tied at four, in the eighth inning with one out and Beltran on second base. The reliever on the mound, according to the announcers threw hard but was wild.

Unlike the St. Louis hitters, who were patient at the plate and forced Ollie to throw strikes, Ramon Castro was swinging at the first pitch. Castro hit an easy fly ball to right field for an out, surprisingly, Beltran tagged and attempted to advance to third.

The throw from the right fielder bounced off the third baseman's glove and not only was Beltran safe, but he took off for home plate. The ball caromed to the side of the pitcher's mound and it appeared that Beltran would easily score the go ahead run.

At the last minute the third baseman recovered the ball and made a perfect throw to the plate, while Beltran was tagged out attempting to cross the plate standing.

There were so many fundamental mistakes made in this one play that it was absolutely incredible:
  1. Ramon Castro exhibited the Mets failure to use scouting reports on a pitcher or ignoring the reports and pressing himself into an out. As fans we've seen too many Mets batters in the later innings of games fail to have quality at bats and begin to first pitch swing, swing for the fences and swing at pitches way out of the zone.
  2. Beltran made such a heads up play going to third, but then he slightly delayed and still went for home, generally I was always told that if you delayed, you hold up because your going to get thrown out. Still Beltran would have been safe if he had slid, his excuse for not sliding was that he was looking at the ball and then was too close to the plate.

    Once the decision was made to run the only thing he should be looking at is the plate and sliding at home should be automatic, no matter how close he was ( which I don't understand, anyway).
  3. Castillo was on deck, it's his responsibility to direct the runner into home plate and in this case he should have been frantically waving for Beltran to slide. So Castillo was the third player, in one play to fail to execute the absolute basic fundamentals of baseball, as he was nowhere to be found in the play.
Aside from the fundamentals, this play is the epitome of the Mets mentality. There was no way Beltran was barreling though the catcher and he probably didn't slide because of concern over getting hurt or hurting the catcher.

I don't want anybody out there looking to hurt someone, but I do want to see some aggressive, fiery play. However; this is a group of nice guys and being aggressive or sacrificing themselves isn't their style.

Every time they have a chance to put a team away or act aggressively to take a game over, they back off, which is why, win or lose every game is close.

Honestly, I'm not sure if there's a Met who would barrel over the catcher to score the winning run. Worst of all, this just adds to the lore that this is a lackadaisical team, that would just walk into a tag out, at home plate, in the eighth inning of a tied game...
Once again, emotionally this was just another devastating play, in a long line of similar plays, over the last two years. How many times can we take being on the cusp of something positive, only to have it snatched away. It seems like were always looking for the tide to turn on this team and it just never seems to happen.
Hopefully, one of these embarrassing losses will fire them up and serve to awaken them from the malaise that's infected them since they met the Cards in 2006. For a team this talented so many things have to go wrong, for them to be this bad and just like Beltran's play, some many things have gone wrong.