Here’s Carlos Beltran’s first hit of the 2010 season:
Nice to see and good for Beltran for getting off the schneid in only his second at-bat. His later plate appearances were less impressive, but it’s hard to look good when facing Tim Lincecum.
The part that stung was the caught stealing, a few pitches after that hit. Ike Davis swung on the pitch, so I’m not sure if it was a botched hit and run or Beltran taking advantage of his perpetual green light. Jerry Manuel said before the game that he wouldn’t be sending Beltran anywhere, so I guess it was the latter.
Carlos Beltran — the Carlos Beltran we love and appreciate — never gets caught stealing. Beltran is a historically great base-stealer. Even last year, hobbled as he was, Beltran only got thrown out once in 12 attempts.
And yeah, maybe it’s just an unfortunate coincidence that this year’s first caught stealing should come in his first game back. Buster Posey made a great throw, after all.
But, well, I don’t know. It was a little bit sad, is all. Like the time Donny didn’t bowl a strike, right before his untimely death in The Big Lebowski. And for it to come at the hands of Posey, a player heralded as part of the next crop of Major League stars, seemed devastatingly perfect. Carlos Beltran’s run of being one of the very best baseball players in the world is probably over.
Not because of one caught stealing, mind you. Because he’s now 33 years old with an irreparable bone-on-bone condition in his right knee. Some things are just too heavy for Superman to lift. The march of time is a real bitch.
Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong. Baseball players have certainly remained exceptional deeper into their 30s. And Beltran, even if he’s not the player he used to be, will likely still be a very good player whenever he’s healthy.
I just get a feeling we’re never going to see the player he used to be again, and that’s a difficult thing to bear. It was such a sight to see, that minimalist art thing he did. And even though I know having him back is best for the Mets, I hate the idea of new images of a lesser Beltran clouding my memory of such a wonderful ballplayer.
Greatness is fleeting, is all. And fragile. And that sucks.