Saturday, June 4, 2011
#695) CARLOS BELTRAN
Carlos Beltran joined the New York Mets when he signed as a free agent on January 11, 2005. The seven-year deal was given to the talented outfielder soon after signing pitcher, Pedro Martinez. "I like the plan (the Mets) have," Beltran said. "They're going in the right direction. They have made moves now that show that they'll be a different Mets team than they've been." His contract was the seventh largest in baseball at that time, and easily the most in Mets team history.
Carlos was able to handle the huge expectations of the contract through his faith. "I take the field with the mentality to play not for the New York Mets," Beltran told CBN. "I take the field thinking to play to please God. Everything I do out there is to be an example, to do things right in front of His eyes because I know that if I do those things right, He will be proud of me. Like I said, the best decision I ever made was accepting Christ because He changed me."
The Beltran era with the Mets could have ended during it's first year. The centerfielder was in pursuit of a ball in the outfield when he suffered a horrific collision with right fielder, Mike Cameron in San Diego on August 11, 2005. The result was a concussion for Carlos and a fracture of a facial bone for Cameron who had to be removed on a stretcher. Beltran acknowledged he had little memory of the episode or it's immediate aftermath. "After a collision like that," he said, "I feel lucky."
In 2006, the switch-hitting slugger seemed to have a chance to become the first New York Met to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award. That year he tied the Mets single season home run record with 41 round-trippers. Carlos also drove in 116 runs, and established a new team mark for runs scored with 127. He would finish fourth in the final voting.
Beltran's performance was a large reason the Mets found themselves winning the National League Eastern Division and ending the Atlanta Braves streak of 14 years. Carlos continued his torrid hitting with three home runs in the NL Championship Series facing the St. Louis Cardinals, but was at the plate to strikeout looking for the final out of the decisive Game Seven. His at-bat ended the last postseason contest to ever be played at Shea Stadium.
Beltran was selected the National League Player of the Week on June 11, 2006, April 22, 2007, and August 19, 2007. His superb defense was honored with his inclusion to the Rawlings National League Gold Glove team for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Carlos also represented the Mets at the Major League All-Star Game in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
"It's been great man, It's been great," Beltran said about his time with the Mets. "It's been a lot of ups and downs. It's been a learning experience for me. But it's been great. It's been the experience of a lifetime."