By Ed Coleman
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Carlos Beltran is gone. Well, not officially. That will happen sometime Thursday, and when he dons a San Francisco Giants uniform at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday night, the book on Beltran’s Mets era will definitively close.

So what is Beltran’s legacy in New York? Manager Terry Collins thinks he knows.

Collins was faced with some sticky situations when he began his Met tenure this past spring — integrating closer Frankie Rodriguez back into the clubhouse, dealing with the Luis Castillo quandary, and getting Beltran to move from center field to right field for the betterment of the team. And because of the way Beltran handled his part of the situation, Collins thinks the world of him.

A lot of people don’t know what Beltran went through to get himself ready to play every single day this season, the results of which have shocked some observers, but not Collins.

David Wright, who’s had his own injury problems this year, has marveled at Beltran’s production this season, and wished that he could have been healthier during his 7-year Mets run.

And Wright also feels that it’s too bad that some tremendously productive seasons couldn’t have yielded more.

To that end, Wright believes it’s extremely unfair that many Met fans still associate Beltran with the called strike three on the unhittable Adam Wainwright curveball for the final out of the 2006 NLCS.

When his playing days are over, Beltran would make a terrific hitting coach if he so chooses. He was a great tutor to many young Mets, and some veterans too, had a keen eye for small details, and always gave willingly of his time to help teammates. R.A. Dickey thought he was a great teacher.

Beltran said his goodbyes to his teammates just prior to Wednesday night’s game in Cincinnati. And he said his goodbyes to Collins as well, someone he had grown especially fond of in a short amount of time. So what did Collins say to Beltran?

Collins is certainly one of them. His team has now won three straight games amidst all the turmoil, hanging around on the outskirts of the wild-card race. Wright was asked if it was difficult coming to terms with dealing Beltran in that light?

So what does Beltran’s departure do and mean for the rest of this team? Collins knows he’ll find out a lot about those that remain.

For now, the manager will resist the urge to talk to his players as a group about what lies ahead – but he will soon.

Can this team survive without Beltran’s big bat in the middle of their lineup as well as his presence in the locker room? Can they at least maintain the level that they have played at, which has already surprised most observers? Dickey probably provided the best answer.

As Willie Harris said on Wednesday night: wouldn’t it be sweet to get into the playoffs and meet – and beat – Beltran there.

So who replaces Beltran? No one really – but Lucas Duda will get the first shot, and there’s one thing he realizes.

Duda played right field in the Mets’ first post-Beltran game Wednesday night in Cincinnati. He homered. Carry on.

C U soon
Eddie C.

What is Beltran’s legacy in New York? Sound off in the comments below…

Comments (5)
  1. Louis A. Ortiz says:

    A very classy player.Jason Bay is the same way. A throwback who played hard and didn’t complain but the world wants you to scream and shout when just playing hard should be enough.His leadership and dignity will be missed. It is now David Wright, Jose Reyes, and hopefully Ike Davis’ team now.
    Lets Go Mets!

  2. Keith says:

    He was a very good player who Mets fans never appreciated. Without him & Delgado the Mets never win the division in ’06.

    They both also were responsible for the Mets being in the NL Championship & getting to game 7, though the Mets loss & Beltran struck out to end the game he did show up, had 3 hrs & 4 rbi’s in that series.

    Now he gets another chance to win a title, was not going to win with the Mets.

    Though he played just a short time for the Mets, when healthy he played hard, quiet player, but always showed up, will go down as the best all around player ever to play for the Mets, that’s his legacy & a player Mets fans never appreciated

  3. GMS says:

    In retrospect, it will most likely be a mixed legacy. On the one hand, statistically he will be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever put on a Mets uniform, but on the other hand people will point to the strikeout against Wainwight and the fact that the Mets did not win a championship or make it to a World Series over the course of his time with the team. Not entirely fair, but to many that is the bottom line.
    Insofar as the 2011 Mets, the shame of it is that we never got to see how good this team might have been had they had their six key players Beltran, Wright, Davis, Reyes, Santana, and KRod all healthy at the same time.

    1. Ryan says:

      That’s sports, name one team that played a full season with all their key players from the opening day roster & all stayed healthy the entire 162 games season and won the title?

      In ’08, Wright, Reyes, Beltran & Santana were all in the Mets roster, along with Delgado, all healthy & the Mets choked as they did on ’07 without Santana but with Glavine.

      So let’s stop using these injuries nonsense of an excuse on why the Mets have did win with these players. They had their chance and they choked, big time.

      Injuries are part of the game, every team has them. Some teams win, some do not, but it’s those teams that overcomes their injuries & win that makes them champions.

  4. dabooch says:

    Beltran was a very good performer for the Mets, one that they can’t replace.

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