Last night, we were treated to the Carlos Beltran Show. You may still be a bit pissed off about the “non-tag” at home plate when Beltran threw a strike to home plate and Yadier Molina sort of just sat there and took the charge from Mark Ellis. But the point is that Carlos Beltran made the plays when he needed to, including the walk-off hit against Kenley Jansen.
You can continue to argue that Molina never tagged Ellis (freeze-frame and replay are at best inconclusive and in the eye of the beholder, in my mind). You can argue that a better center fielder/player than Andre Ethier would have caught the DEEP fly ball that Beltran almost turned into a three-run homer off Zack Greinke (it was a game-tying double instead). But Carlos Beltran made the plays. Carlos Beltran is the definition of “clutch,” if “clutch” even exists.
Mostly Carlos Beltran is just good at baseball. When he is healthy, he is one of the best players I have ever seen play baseball. When he has the chance to get into the postseason, he never disappoints. Sure, people remember his one strikeout to end the NLCS when Adam Wainwright caught him looking. But that series went seven games, with Beltran hitting .296/.387/.667 while taking the eventual champions to the limit in 2006. The team may lose the series, but it most likely wasn’t because of Beltran. That’s baseball. Beltran is more often good than bad.
I’ve often said that I believe Yadier Molina should enter the Baseball Hall of Fame for his defense alone (and the fact that his bat has finally found that Molina Brother Magic). I will say the same for Carlos Beltran for being awesome in the regular season (his batting line and value is greater than Andre Dawson‘s, as is his career OPS+) and the postseason, where he has OPS’d 1.214…to put that in perspective, Barry Bonds‘ career OPS is 1.051, so Beltran is greater than Bondsian in the postseason.
I don’t really care that the bloodsucking Cardinals (who are always good) are likely to advance to the World Series (AGAIN). I don’t really care that the Dodgers are just as likely to make this series interesting, even as a Giants fan. They are well-built teams with very interesting players including Molina, Beltran, Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Yasiel Puig and others. I am simply enjoying these games because they are very fun, well-played contests between good teams with good players. I think we often forget to place aside the silly “hate” of random sports rivals and just sit back and enjoy the game.
I’m going to keep enjoying these games because winter is coming, which means no more Major League Baseball until the spring. And in a few years, I hope Yadier Molina and especially Carlos Beltran go into the Hall of Fame.