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Old 07-23-2008, 07:39 AM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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JoPo: Beltran Blossomed in KC

Good read. I cant believe its been almost 10 years since he first got called up. Wow....

How good would this current Royals team look with a player of his caliber in the middle of the lineup??


http://www.kansascity.com/180/story/712372.html


By JOE POSNANSKI
The Kansas City Star

CINCINNATI | Hereís something that might make you feel old. We are coming up on the 10th anniversary of Carlos Beltranís first game with the Royals.

Ten years. Now, the last true superstar the Royals ever developed is here in the New York Mets clubhouse, and he has a bat in his hand, and he is entertaining eight or nine Mets with some sort of one-man baseball play. Itís in Spanish, so itís hard for me to pick up the specific plotlines, but the play is obviously hilarious because Mets are falling over each other laughing.

Then again, everyone laughs at Beltranís jokes now. Heís a New York star. Heís the show. Heís the guy on the back page of the New York Post and Daily News. He has had surgeries on both knees, he has hit 250 home runs, he has stolen 250 bases (heís already one of only 17 to do both ó and heís only 31), he has won Gold Gloves the last two years, he is making $17 million per year. That can make the jokes funnier.

Still, the amazing part is that heís the one telling the jokes. Back when he was called up to Kansas City ó Sept. 14, 1998, if youíre planning a party ó you couldnít get him to talk even with a good-cop, bad-cop routine. He seemed scared and alone, he did not feel comfortable with his English, he did not feel sure that he belonged in the major leagues. He was just a frightened kid then, and the memory that lingers is of him sitting alone at his locker at Kauffman Stadium while making a radio-controlled car rumble all over the clubhouse. He never seemed to say anything, and he never seemed to tire of that car. It was as if somebodyís little brother had sneaked in.

ďI learned a lot about myself in Kansas City,Ē Beltran is saying now. ďItís like I grew up there. I still think about Kansas City a lot.Ē

Well, thatís good because Kansas City thinks about him a lot, too. Maybe people donít think about Beltran himself ó but what he represents. He was the last superstar. He was the lottery ticket that hit. He was the last guy the Royals signed, developed and watched become a player so good that the Yankees and Red Sox and Mets and Cardinals and all the rest drooled. He could do everything ó hit, run, throw, slug, you name it. He was the guy Royals general manager Allard Baird said, ďcould be as good as he wants to be. If he wants to steal 40 bases, he could do that. If he wants to hit 40 home runs he could do that. If he wants to hit .300 he could do that.Ē

He has, in fact, done all of that, and hereís how much people in the Heartland miss Carlos Beltran: Saturday night in Omaha, they gave out Carlos Beltran statues to the first 1,500 fans to show up for the Class AAA game against Round Rock. It seems that Beltran was voted the fansí favorite Omaha Royals player this decade, which is nice except Ö Beltran played exactly five games with Omaha.

He did hit two home runs in those five games, so there is that.

But that just shows you the power of the Beltran memory. He was an example of the Royals doing everything right. In 1995, when Beltran was playing high school baseball in Puerto Rico, a lot of teams gave up on him. Scouts loved his talent, but they were not sure he had the drive. Thatís why the Royals were able to take him in the second round. He hit .245 his first three seasons in the minor leagues without much power or speed.

And then, suddenly, he blossomed ó detonated, really. He was called up to Class AA Wichita when he was 21, and in 47 games he hit .352, cracked 14 home runs, stole seven out of eight bases, and the Royals were like: ďHoly cow, whatís this?Ē The Royals called him up immediately, and sure he looked scared, but on the field he had this star quality, you could see it right away. The Royals made him the starting center fielder the next spring and told him, ďDonít worry about hitting. Just catch the ball and relax.Ē

Beltran promptly hit 22 homers, stole 27 bases, and he became the first rookie since Joe DiMaggio to score 100 runs and drive in 100. He won Rookie of the Year, of course.

And at that very moment, lost in the joy of watching the most exciting player the Royals had since Bo was young, the countdown began: Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the Royals would not be able to afford Carlos Beltran.

And thatís how it played out. The Royals traded him away because he was going to leave anyway. He went to Houston and had one of the great playoff performances ever. He went to New York and has started in three All-Star Games, won two Gold Gloves, wowed them and let them down, like superstars do.

Heís grown up now. Heís heard the cheers, heís heard the boos, he knows his place in the game. And he is precisely the sort of player the Royals donít have, canít afford, the established superstar, the magazine cover, the guy who has seen everything, the guy who people buy tickets to see, the guy everyone in the clubhouse tries to impress.

ďSure, I feel more comfortable now,Ē he says. ďIím a lot older. Iíve been through a lot, you know? Iíve done a few things in baseball now. Iím a different person than I was in Kansas City, really.

ďI love playing for New York. We have a chance to win here. If we need a player, we go out and get a player. Itís a good feeling. A lot of teams donít do that. Itís not just Kansas City. A lot of teams, I think they want to win, but they donít want to spend money to win.Ē

Here Beltran smiled.

ďGood players cost a lot of money,Ē he said.

He has learned a lot in ten years. But thatís probably the truest lesson of them all.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:48 AM   #2
BigChiefFan BigChiefFan is offline
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Too bad ownership is a bunch of cheap asses.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:25 AM   #3
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The walkoff homerun he had and that stupid 360 of him robbing a homerun was my favorite beltran memories. I also used to like how they would play scenes of gladiator when he came up thus earning the nickname maximus. I never saw mantle play but I figure beltran is close to him,
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:28 AM   #4
DeezNutz DeezNutz is offline
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Originally Posted by Demonpenz View Post
I never saw mantle play but I figure beltran is close to him,
Obviously I've seen Mantle only in various clips, but my sense is that you're talking craziness. Beltran, though a hell of a talent, was never really the 5-tool player he was often described as; he never really had the arm strength.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:30 AM   #5
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Too bad ownership is a bunch of cheap asses.
Boras was never going to let him sign here. Period.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:33 AM   #6
DeezNutz DeezNutz is offline
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Boras was never going to let him sign here. Period.
If the organization would have shown Beltran a pile of cash as a young player, he likely would have signed. Waiting until his contract year was a mistake. Look what happened with Longoria. He plays for 5 minutes and is inked long-term.

I'm forgetting the specifics, but at the time I don't believe that the Royals and Beltran were that far apart, but ultimately Glass didn't loosen the purse strings. Sweeney was good enough to appease the fans, from the Glass' perspective, I suppose.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:34 AM   #7
Demonpenz Demonpenz is offline
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Obviously I've seen Mantle only in various clips, but my sense is that you're talking craziness. Beltran, though a hell of a talent, was never really the 5-tool player he was often described as; he never really had the arm strength.
beltran has a strong arm.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DeezNutz View Post
If the organization would have shown Beltran a pile of cash as a young player, he likely would have signed. Look what happened with Longoria. He plays for 5 minutes and is inked long-term.

I'm forgetting the specifics, but at the time I don't believe that the Royals and Beltran were that far apart, but ultimately Glass didn't loosen the purse strings. Sweeney was good enough to appease the fans, from the Glass' perspective, I suppose.
With the Royal curse of the last two decades, if he would have signed he would have become like Sweeny imo..
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:37 AM   #9
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beltran has a strong arm.
I'm not saying he's Damon, but...
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:39 AM   #10
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With the Royal curse of the last two decades, if he would have signed he would have become like Sweeny imo..
Maybe. But I like it when my team at least tries, you know. Everyone has bad luck, but not everyone packs it in before things begin.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:47 AM   #11
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I've learned to hate Beltran over the years. And while he does have talent, and is a pain in the ass, he is also a CHOKE ARTIST LOSER when it matters most.

Him starring at strike three from Wainwright in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS was one of the greatest moments of my sports fan life.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:50 AM   #12
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so is Soria the next X-Royal ?
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:52 AM   #13
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Boras was never going to let him sign here. Period.

Money talks. Bullsh*t walks.

Obviously Mr. Wal Mart likes Bullsh*t.
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One of the best plays Matt has ever made.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:54 AM   #14
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I've learned to hate Beltran over the years. And while he does have talent, and is a pain in the ass, he is also a CHOKE ARTIST LOSER when it matters most.

Him starring at strike three from Wainwright in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS was one of the greatest moments of my sports fan life.
That one pitch might be the best single descriptor for that season...extremely unexpected...I was so used to seeing him play out of his a** against us I expected another letdown.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:00 AM   #15
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Can you guys name a single Boras client who's ever said he wanted to test free agency and then resigned at any price?

And for those of you scoring at home, Beltran is hitting .268 as of today, and will be paid $18.6 million this season. In fact he's never hit anywhere close to .300 since leaving the Royals, even with the benefit of a lot more protection in the lineup. And obviously, he hasn't come up in the post season for the Mets.

You could definitely make the argument that Beltran has failed to meet expectations in New York, and as popular as he is, he's significantly overpaid. It's not good value for the Mets to be devoting 15% of their payroll to him and they are the 2nd highest payroll in baseball. In Kansas City he'd be closer to a quarter of it.

Not good value. The Royals could spend that 20 on a couple of good starting pitchers or a couple of good bats in the lineup. You might be able to get two similar players for that.
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