So now Carlos Beltran joins the orchestra of disabled Mets. Fantastic. I'm trying my best to resist the urge to panic, but an injury to Beltran makes it tough. And while the Mets and their center fielder say his troublesome right knee could sideline him for only two weeks, it's reasonable to expect it could take longer, especially given the way things have gone lately for the club and especially for a player with a history of balky knees.
I've made no secret of my appreciation for Beltran in these columns, and this year the man has done nothing but justify it. Knowing what we know now about Beltran's condition -- Omar Minaya described it as "bone on bone" -- and how much pain he's been playing through finally puts to bed, I hope, all the baseless and mind-numbing talk of how he doesn't care and he's not a team player. Think back to the sliding catch he made in the seventh inning on Sunday to rob Pat Burrell and end the Rays' rally. Pretty heroic if you ask me.
Anyway, until I can step a little further away from the ledge, here's a roundup of Beltran- and non-Beltran-oriented items of note.
On not panicking: On The Happy Recap radio show on Sunday, I said that if Beltran's MRI results demanded a disabled-list stint, it might be time to hit the proverbial "panic button." EJ, one of the show's hosts, suggested that if Beltran were out, maybe the Mets would be better off packing it in, and I agreed he had a good point.
I'm not ready to say the Mets should concede the season because Beltran is out, but I do think making a trade now would be a bad idea. First of all, even if the Mets could somehow replace Beltran's offense -- which is probably impossible -- they'd only be right back to where they were on Sunday, still needing a bat. Complementary hitters like Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church have to produce if the Mets want to win games this season, with or without another weapon, so the team might as well take some time to see if those players' recent upturns are real.
Besides -- and I hate to keep leaning on the car metaphor -- there's no worse time for Minaya to be shopping. Calling for a bat right now would be like pulling into the auto dealership in a 15-year-old Sentra with the bumper falling off, the muffler dragging and two donut tires. Believe me, I've been there. It's not good for leverage.
Some lighter notes: Huge hat tip to reader Tom for sending me a link to this song, titled "New York Mets" by the Duke of Iron. Maybe most people don't appreciate calypso music as much as I do or something, but I can't really understand how the Mets haven't pumped this through Citi Field yet. I guess it has something to do with the misogynistic third verse, but it's still got to be better than Neil Diamond. It's about the Casey Stengel-helmed club but check out some of the lyrics:
When you want to hear how people scream,
Go see New York's latest baseball team.
Such loyalty, such charity.
Although they're last, not one of them have no regrets,
They believe in the New York Mets.
We want a hit! We want a hit!
From the crack of the bat, there's noise in the place,
Especially if a Met can get on first base.
Down on the farm: Episode One of the video from my Minor League road trip with Matt Cerrone hit the Internet on Monday. Check it out by clicking play below.
One quick note: I misstated the meaning of the verb "buffalo." In the video, I said it means "to strongarm." It actually means "to bamboozle" or "to bewilder." So in some way, my misuse of the verb "buffalo" might have buffaloed viewers. Call it performance art.
Here comes that man again: Twice a year, Mets fans get to watch Albert Pujols play against their favorite team. That isn't enough for me, so I pay for the MLB Extra Innings package on DirecTV to watch El Hombre in thrilling HD. I maintain that there should be some sort of alert for when Pujols is batting, and maybe a button you can push when that alert comes up that would take you directly to the Cardinals game. In other words, the DirecTV remote should be modified to look like this.
And if they're installing that button, they might as well make an all-Pujols on-demand channel that features Pujols' greatest moments, like that time he absolutely brutalized Brad Lidge. Plus maybe it can show Albert Pujols doing other stuff, too, like just buying groceries and mowing the lawn. I bet he does it all extremely well.
Anyway, it's too soon to tell, but the best player in baseball might actually be getting better. At 29, Pujols is following the best year of his career with what's shaping up to be the best year of his career. It's a half-formed theory at best because Pujols' most productive offensive season before 2008 came in 2003 and since he had what was, for him, a down year in 2007. But it's fun to speculate because the idea of Pujols even having another level to take his game to is insane.
The Wily Mo Pena Era in Flushing is over before it started: Lost in the shuffle of Beltran's getting sent to the DL and the flurry of roster moves that accompanied it was the Lake Erie Eradication, in which Pena, Javier Valentin and Bobby Kielty got cut from the Mets' Triple-A club in Buffalo.
I have no idea why the Mets parted ways with the trio; I wasn't around for the Beltran press conference and even if I was, I certainly wouldn't have asked about Wily Mo Pena at a time like that. I know that sometimes there are contractual and financial reasons that teams cut Quadruple-A types midseason, so maybe that had something to do with it. Still, it seems strange that a team in need of offense would cut ties with three players with histories of moderate Major League success in one fell swoop.
None of them was exactly tearing it up in Buffalo, but no one else is, either.