Carlos Beltran: 5 Greatest Moments as a New York Met
Carlos Beltran's tumultuous career as a New York Met is all but certain to be coming to an end any day now.
Today's finale with the St. Louis Cardinals may prove to be Carlos' final game at Citi Field as a member of the Amazin's, and fans in attendance paid homage to the man who spent six and-a-half star-crossed years in New York.
Throughout the game, Chants of "Carlos Beltran" rang throughout the Citi Field faithful, signaling that Mets fans have finally grown appreciative of the talent that their former whipping boy has possessed all these years.
Although he'll always be remembered for the swing that he didn't take, Carlos Beltran's bat and glove did in fact conjure up their fair share of magical Mets moments.
To continue this rare aura of positivity that has surrounded Carlos recently, let's take a look at his five greatest moments as a New York Met.
5. 9th Inning Home Run vs. John Smoltz, April 10, 2005
Ah, the innocence of 2005.
The Mets were first on their way back to respectability, and they weren't over-priced favorites nor long-shot underdogs.
They were simply a group of 25 men playing baseball, trying to restore pride in a beleaguered franchise.
They got off to a slow start in 2005, dropping their first five games of the Pedro Martinez-Carlos Beltran-Willie Randolph era.
Trailing the division rival Atlanta Braves and their ace John Smoltz 1-0 heading into the eighth inning, that streak appeared to be on the fast-track towards six.
Then Carlos Beltran stepped up.
Still looking for his signature moment as a New York Met, Beltran smacked a 2-1 offering from Smoltz into the right field seats at Turner Field to put the Mets ahead 2-1.
It was a lead they wouldn't relinquish, as Cliff Floyd and David Wright would go on to homer later in the inning en route to Randolph's first managerial win.
4. 2006 NLCS Game 1, Oct. 12, 2006
The 2006 National League Championship Series started off on a much higher note than it would end for Carlos Beltran.
A scoreless tie into the bottom of the sixth inning, Beltran would soon break game one's deadlock with one swing of the bat.
After Paul LoDuca singled, Beltran drove a 2-2 fastball from Cardinals pitcher Jeff Weaver off the top of the Shea Stadium scoreboard, traveling an estimated 430 feet.
The Mets would go on to win the game 2-0, as Tom Glavine pitched seven innings of four-hit, shut-out ball.
3. Up the Hill Catch vs. Astros, July 7, 2007
Besides riding his half-year stint in Houston to a $119 million contract, Carlos Beltran also spent his time there becoming familiar with Minute Maid Park's terribly designed hill in center field.
That familiarity would pay off for Beltran and the Mets on this night in July of 2007, as the three-time Gold Glove centerfielder made perhaps one of the most memorable defensive plays in Mets history.
With two outs in the 14th inning and a runner on third in a 3-3 tie, Astros' outfielder Luke Scott launched a drive to deep center field. The ball carried to the top of the hill, and Beltran ran it down with his back to the plate, culminating in a graceful basket catch while tripping up the hill.
Beltran would later hit a go-ahead single in the 17th inning, as the Mets would go on to win the marathon affair 5-3.
2. Walk Off, 16th Inning Home Run vs. Phillies, May 23, 2006
Extra inning games provide a platform for players to showcase their greatest strengths and attributes.
Throughout his Mets career, Carlos Beltran always seemed to step up to the plate at the opportune moment in those extra frames.
Never was this more evident than on May 23, 2006, when Carlos would end a 16-inning marathon between the Mets and their division rival Phillies with one swing of the bat.
Beltran drove the 521st pitch of the night, a high fastball from Phillies' reliever Ryan Madson, into the Mets' bullpen, setting off a frenzy at Shea Stadium.
Perhaps just as memorable, the blast prompted Mets SNY play-by-play man Gary Cohen to waiver from his signature home run call of "And it's outta here!" to "And we're going home!"
1. Walk-off Home Run vs. Cardinals, Aug. 22, 2006
Carlos Beltran would culminate arguably the most memorable regular season Mets game in recent memory with his signature moment wearing the orange and blue.
Despite a three-run home run and grand slam from the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, the Mets fought back to within one run entering the ninth.
With the Cardinals ahead 8-7 in that memorable inning, Paul LoDuca hit a one-out single to set the stage for Beltran.
As Beltran stepped up to the plate, the crowd of 49,661 began to roar in anticipation, giving the moment an almost surreal feeling. Certainly Carlos couldn't cap this furious comeback with one swing of the bat right then and there, could he?
Sure enough, he belted the first pitch he saw from Cardinals' closer Jason Isringhausen, a cut-fastball, into the right field bullpen to give the Mets a come-from-behind 9-8 victory.
From that moment until the fateful evening of Oct. 19, 2006, Carlos Beltran was endeared in the hearts of Mets fans.
As Carlos Beltran's tenure with the Mets comes to a close, we should all take a moment and heed some advice from Tony Soprano and "remember the good times."
Maybe then, Carlos can be remembered for the number of joyful memories he gave us the fans, instead of his one moment of futility.