I originally thought that your #BlameBeltran hashtag was just a sort of joke you were doing, and that there weren’t actual Mets fans with brains and thoughts that were under the impression the team was not winning because Carlos Beltran had ruined the team’s chemistry.
Then I went on Facebook and saw a friend of a friend of mine who watches the team on a consistent and regular basis blaming Beltran, Ollie and Castillo for ruining the team’s chemistry…
I was wondering if you had any ideas where this line of reasoning comes from? Have there been any reports that the players on the team don’t like Beltran?
- Aaron, via email.
The ellipses replace a long Facebook argument between Aaron and his friend covering all-too-familiar territory. You know the one: Jeff Francoeur plays with hunger and fire, the Mets were playing better before Beltran returned, and thus, obviously, Beltran ruined the team’s chemistry.
The friend’s argument assumes a lot, most notably: A) What happens in the clubhouse contributes to what happens on the field and does not merely reflect what has recently happened on the field. B) Carlos Beltran (as well as Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo) is a bad guy in the clubhouse.
To answer Aaron’s questions: No, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything to suggest that players on the Mets don’t like Beltran. I’ve seen columnists cite anonymous “team sources” and the like to suggest that Beltran is soft, but I can’t remember anything suggesting he is less than an ideal teammate. In fact, much has been made about the way he helped Angel Pagan this offseason.
If I had to guess, I would assume the perception that Beltran is a negative or divisive figure in the clubhouse stems from the fact that he is a Puerto Rican guy named Carlos and so has always been linked by many fans with fellow Puerto-Rican-guy-named-Carlos, Carlos Delgado.
I don’t spend nearly as much time around the team as the beat writers do and so a lot of this is speculation, but Delgado got a lot of heat in the media for being a bit outspoken and sometimes abrasive. Billy Wagner’s “f***ing shocker” outburst, I’m pretty sure, was aimed at Delgado.
And I think fans read negative items about Delgado — who, I should mention, was himself praised by many of his teammates as a great leader — and extrapolate them to Beltran. But ask the Mets’ beat writers or the guys in the SNY booth, and they’ll say nothing but good things about Beltran’s attitude and work ethic.
For whatever reason, many Mets fans don’t like Beltran, and so I think they just subconsciously assume the players on the team feel the same way. The best example of this, I think, is Castillo.
Scour the Internet for a negative report from inside the clubhouse about Castillo’s work ethic, attitude, qualities as a teammate, anything. I’m almost certain you won’t find one.
We, the fans, don’t like Luis Castillo because he absorbs a significant portion of the Mets’ payroll without showing much for it. So we guess David Wright doesn’t like Castillo either, because we like David Wright and he must feel the same way we do about the Mets’ second baseman. The Internet is rife with assumptions about Luis Castillo being a negative force in the Mets’ clubhouse only from people who have never been anywhere near the Mets’ clubhouse.
And I don’t mean to appeal to any sort of authority I might earn by being credentialed. I attend maybe half the Mets’ home games, tops, and I don’t have the type of relationships with any of the players that guys on the beat develop.
But I read a whole, whole lot about the team, and I spend a lot of time tracking how and where these rumors get started. I just don’t think there’s any strong evidence to believe that Beltran is in any way a negative presence in the clubhouse, nor that it would mean much if he were, if he were producing.