New York: A reader of these pages e-mailed this columnist and said his 12-year grandson and Little League ballplayer commented, “I’m beginning to think that baseball is fake and there is no honesty among baseball players.”
Or, honesty with managers and the higher-ups as seen with this baseball cheating scandal that saw the latest casualty, Thursday, with Carlos Beltran parting ways with the Mets as their manager,
Direct your attention to Carlos Beltran, the Mets, and baseball hovering over a dark cloud. The game is in trouble and this baseball cheating scandal is far from over.
Beltran, the lone player implicated with that 2017 Astros’ championship team, is no longer the manager of the Mets, a brief tenure that stands second in the annals as the shortest reign, next to Wally Backman who lasted four days with the Diamondbacks.
But the Wally Backman situation was different, taxes and personal issues. The Carlos Beltran situation was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and one of the culprits that has put Major League Baseball in a bad situation.
Though cheating and stealing signs has always been a part of baseball,it was never at this extreme with the advanced technology that baseball has. More cameras, video rooms , and the availability to cheat is that more tempting.
Beltran, the lone player implicated with that 2017 Astros team, reportedly was behind the sign stealing system. Major League Baseball did not impose a suspension as players were exempt.
And also consider, cheating, the way this was done, banging on a garbage bin in the dugout as a signal of what was coming from a pitcher, well that has been done many times in Puerto Rico.
Done many times in Latin nations, where baseball is played, players of Latino descent are competitive but technology is not available and getting away with cheating is common. Hearing those bangs coming from a dugout is normal.
But this was Major League Baseball and technology that made it worse and caused Beltan, Alex Cora, and AJ Hinch to lose their jobs.
Carlos Beltran was a victim here, As a result, he goes down in baseball and Mets annals with the second shortest managerial reign. It is unfortunate, and now, Beltran, has lots of damage control to resume his popularity and reputation as that good guy in baseball.
And all of this will be discussed in years to come, and technology advancement, attributed to three managers losing jobs, is another issue and one that baseball has to address as they try and recover from this black eye.
But the reality now, and for the Mets, they are without a manager. They were supposed to have Carlos Beltran for three years, maybe more, to guide them to a championship.
Beltran, a choice of GM Brodie Van Wegenen, will resurface and perhaps as a manager, He is tarnished as much as the game is. You can rule out a potential Hall of Fame induction in a few years when his name comes up for consideration,
In essence, this scandal of cheating to steal signals from opposing pitchers, is difficult to digest. Baseball fans will forgive to an extent and only because they want their team to win.
Except, cheating, as was with the steroid scandal, the Pete Rose gambling issue, and the Black Sox scandal, is hard to tolerate.
Beltran said in a statement, “I’m grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team. I couldn’t let myself be a distraction for the team. I wish the entire organization’s success in the future.”
So the Mets, and unexpectedly, once again are on a managerial search. They want to move on and get by this black eye, Though, again, Carlos Beltran was a culprit in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The search is on as the healing begins.
Mets Gm Brodie Van Wagenen, said Thursday afternoon on a conference call with media, “I don’t think the values we that we’re looking for have changed.”
He said, “This team is one that we believe in. This team is one that we believe can contend and we want to make sure that we have the right support around them to achieve their success.”
Carlos Beltran was the one to do that. The former and popular player, forgiven for making that last out in the 2006 NLCS at Shea Stadium, was the perfect candidate in a long managerial search to succeed Mickey Callaway.
Thing is, there are 28 days before pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie and that does not leave much room to anoint a new manager. Last thing the Mets want is entering spring training without a leader.
But they did not expect this turn of events. Even as the day transpired, Wednesday into Thursday morning, there was that slim chance, Carlos Beltran would survive this scandal.
He wasn’t the manager that was implicated, one of the players that reportedly orchestrated this cheating scheme in his final year as an active player on that 2017 Astros team, and now a negative part of the baseball annals.
And this is no longer an issue as to how the Mets handled this. Did, Brodie, a key part of the hiring process, have knowledge that Carlos Beltran was a part of this scandal?
That issue was clarified as no, according to a timeline that the GM outlined on Thursday. But, Beltran, as is, may not have taken all of the skeletons out of the closet.
So, the prevailing question now, as the Mets go forward, who is the next manager and when will that come to fruition? We know, this process will be rapid. There is precious time with that timeline drawing in on spring training.
The next manager has to have the same goals and guidelines.
Who will that be? Luis Rojas, Eduardo Perez, Buck Showalter? Tony DeFrancesco, who managed the Mets’ Syracuse Triple-A affiliate was in place as the first base coach.
He is not a logical choice, interim manager for the Astros and prior to Hinch and that 2017 team, and the Mets would not want to go that route. Hensley Meulens? He was appointed bench coach, for Beltran, with no previous managerial experience.
Terry Collins, a longshot, even if it became an interim basis. He could leave the chair for David Wright, a fan favorite who goes by the book, but Collins and his days as an active manager are over.
Yes, lots of damage control that will be difficult and more so for Major League Baseball. The Mets will overcome this adversity that was not expected.
The unfortunate thing, we never will see how good a manager Carlos Beltran could have been. Greed, though, and technology with a billionaire dollar industry of Major League Baseball got in the way,
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