H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Friday, August 05, 2005

Beltran's Return to H-town

I meant to post my thoughts on Beltrantichrist's return to the city that made him a star earlier this week, but I got busy. Although the Mets' last game in the Space City was Sunday, here are my thoughts on Charles' "homecoming":

1. The incessant booing from the Minute Maid Park faithful was absolutely awesome. Anytime his name was mentioned, anytime he stepped to the place, anytime he touched the ball, anytime someone had a bad nacho--he was fiercely booed. I cannot recall a player being so universally despised in Houston. The hatred for him was palpable. People (including me) often say that Houston isn't a great sports town, but only fans that really care would have gone to the trouble to make sure Beltran knew how much he let the city down by spurning the 'Stros' offer.

2. I loved that the crowd got to Chuck. He admitted that he heard the booing and that it made him feel bad. Eventually, he even got a little angry. He let loose with the classic "I don't play for the fans" line on Sunday. Really, C-Belt? Who do you think pays the salary that allows you to live the lifestyle to which you have grown so accustomed? You play for the fans and we pay for you to play for us. And if I was a Mets fan, I'd be mighty pissed that my money was paying for you to hit .264 with 13 HRs, 57 RBIs, and only 7 SBs.

3. Lights Out Lidge striking out Charles to win the game on Saturday night was quite possibly the memory of the season for me thus far. Game on the line, and the Mets' alleged "best player" at the plate. First pitch...ball. Second pitch--called strike. Third pitch--called strike. Fourth pitch--mad flailing at a nasty slider to end the game. I'm giddy just thinking about it. Choke on it, Carlos.

4. Beltran's stats for the four-game series? 4 for 15, 2 BB, 1 RBI, 2 R, and 2 SBs. Not quite what the Mets envisioned when he signed that fat 7 year, $119 million deal back in January. I have to wonder if he ever feels guilty for stealing from the Mets. Does he hold up banks on his off days during the season? I need to know these things.

5. Back in December, I was convinced the Astros HAD to re-sign Beltran. I thought he was indispensable. Everything I read indicated he and his wife loved H-town. I remember telling my buddies that I honestly believed Carlos was one of the rare guys who valued familiarity and comfort over a couple of million more. I was wrong in every respect.

Charles Beltran showed what he's all about. I have no problem with a player chasing the money. That's the nature of the business. But to string the Astros along, knowing full well he was going to bolt...that's unforgivable in my book. And I don't buy the "it's the agent's fault" argument, either. Bottom line is that the agent takes his cues from the player. If Beltran was sincere in wanting to stay in Houston, he would have taken Uncle Drayton's money. When you hit that magical $100 million mark, what's a few million if it means playing in a city you want to play in?

The oddest part of the Beltran saga is how I couldn't be happier now that he's NOT an Astro. Not from a character standpoint, but purely from a production standpoint. Imagine if he was making $12 mil a year from the 'Stros. He'd be getting booed at MMP with the numbers he's putting up. Willy T would still be in the minors and Berkman probably wouldn't have his long-term contract. In short, would the 'Stros be in better shape? Probably not. Face it--we got lucky. And Beltrantichrist's return to Houston just cemented that fact.


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