Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Unwarrated Perception

Two separate realities exist now regarding Carlos Beltran. One, in which are backed up by numbers, is of a player who's demonstrated his resilience and toughness as an everyday player. The other is one in which exists through the fog of talk radio and tabloid snide innuendo. Joel Sherman's story today about Johnny Damon notes the contrasts in perceptions about the two ceneterfielders in New York.

Parole was rescinded over the past week when Beltran hurt his hamstring, found the bench, and the Mets began losing. This quiet, introspective player again is imprisoned by a five-borough debate about his toughness, mental and physical.

I feel as if I'm in the minority of bloggers here, as most colleagues seem to feel that Beltran simply isn't getting it done. Perhaps this is a product of salaries in a historical perspective. Maybe its limited to bad clubs. George Foster and Bobby Bonilla come to mind. Recall Cliff Floyd's relationship during his early tenure. Time will tell with Beltran as both hopes and indications are that this current club is doing well.
Some members of the media have indeed come to Beltran's defense. Most notably broadcaster, Gary Cohen and New York Daily News' Adam Rubin as both sighted Beltran playing with a painful quad injury last season. Cohen brings considerable legitimacy as he's never shied away from criticism for anything Mets. As part of the pajama media, I add myself to this list.
Now to simply make my point. In Beltran's seven year major league career, he's been on the disabled list just twice-in 2000 for a knee injury and again at the beginning of 2003 for an abdominal strain. He never went on the DL last season, either for the quad which hampered him all year of after the still disturbing collision with Mike Cameron. He's averaged If the two month stint for the knee injury is thrown out from 2000, Beltran has averaged better than 155 games perseason. This number alone provides much argument.
In this space here over the weekend, I attempted to detail the reasons why Beltran's current hamstring troubles are nothing to scoff at. Keeping the nature of the injury in mind, Beltran's absence from the line-up has been prudent. Clearly when he attempted to play this past weekend in San Diego, indications were that he wasn't ready. He may have actually aggravated the injury which would explain both the Mets caution and his absence from the line-up.


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