Mets-Marlins: Beltran Hits Grand Slam To Drown Fish, 5-4

Daniel SmithCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2008

What a game I missed.


When I went to sleep last night I was upset. The Mets were down one and could not capitalize on anything.


I awoke groggy-eyed and sleepy, doing the same routine as always: getting dressed and watching SportsCenter before I head to work, and to my amazement the Mets won the game!


I did a double take to make sure it was not the Marlins 5, Mets 4, so I took a chance on being late so I could watch the highlights. And I saw bases loaded, two outs, and Beltran took Kevin Gregg deep for a grand slam.


I have been particularly hard on Beltran since  the New York Mets signed him to a seven-year, $119-million dollar contract in 2005—which I though was high for a player who has only hit over .300 once in his career.


But the Mets were determined to turn there team around and they thought Beltran could be the cornerstone.


Beltran had some pop, good speed, and gold glove fielding in center. In '05, I hated Beltran. In 151 games he had only 16 homeruns and batted .266 with only 17 stolen bases.


The hatred only started to build, but he bounced back in a big way in 2006, batting .275 with 41 HRs and 116 RBIs.



But, once again, the anger grew in the playoffs for the Mets, as the $119 million player batted .222 in the National League Division Series (NLDS) versus the Los Angeles Dodgers—only managing two hits in three games against LA.


It did get better versus the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series (NLCS). He batted .296 with three HRs and eight hits.


I started to believe in Beltran again, thinking he could bring this Mets team a ring for the first time in 20 years, but right when that happened Beltran crushed me at the end of Game Seven.


Full count, two outs.   Beltran stared at a pitch that when right down the middle—right down the middle!. I don’t know if Beltran was fooled, not thinking he would throw a fastball and throw an off speed pitch in the dirt, but he just stared at it didn’t even flinch. I was done with him.



I didn’t hate a Mets player more since Kenny Rogers in 1999 against the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs, when he walked the winning run in against Andrew Jones.


I hated Beltran for not taking himself out last year at times when he clearly had a hamstring problem and watched him pull-up short on balls he would normally catch or dive for. Some people look at this as courage—I don’t.


When you’re hurt to the point where you can’t make plays you normally would, then you’re hurting your team.


And this year, Beltran started off horrible.  Only since the Willie firing he has been heating up.


But when I saw Beltran hit that homerun last night in a crucial game in a division chase; ninth inning, two outs and he blasted one.


If the division comes down to a game or two, we might be able to look at this game as one of the deciding games that helped us win it.


Even though I think very few players are worth $119 million—and I don’t think Beltran is—he is worth a starting centerfield position on the Mets and he is worth something to the NY Mets.