Here is, as per GilbertP’s request, Carlos Beltran hitting a grand slam off Kevin Gregg from 2008. This was actually the day after my nephew C.J. was born. Carlos Beltran knows how to welcome a young Mets fan into the world.
I couldn’t find the Sept. 2, 2006 catch that Jake requested. For some reason we didn’t cut any highlights that night — not sure what happened. Anyway, here’s a play Beltran made a few days later, on Sept. 8.
This is, for whatever reason, the play that always comes to my mind when I think of Beltran playing center. Obviously it’s a nice catch, but the impressive part, I think, is how quickly he closes on the ball and how much ground he covers so effortlessly. By the time the ball’s coming down the catch looks almost routine. But look at him in the pursuit. Amazing:
Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever see that Beltran again. The guy who played center field for the Mets last year hit the crap out of the ball and was still a great baseball player, but by all objective and subjective reports he didn’t cover the same amount of ground in the outfield and his once-phenomenal baserunning slipped a bit, too. The bone-on-bone grinding in Beltran’s knee was probably taking its toll, and surgery or no, I imagine that knee will continue to hamper him a bit going forward.
But it will take a lot more than a bum knee to prevent Carlos Beltran from being better than Jeff Francoeur, the man he’s essentially replacing in the Mets’ outfield. That’s the good news. Outside of his fluky, injury-riddled 2005, it’s been a long, long time since Beltran played anything short of excellent baseball. He may no longer be the best defensive center fielder and best baserunner in the game, but in all likelihood he’ll still be awesome.