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Carlos Beltran Saying Goodbye in Style

Carlos Beltran #15 and Justin Turner #2 of the New York Mets celebrate after scoring in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 19, 2011. Touch that hand while you can, Justin.

Within the next eleven days, the Mets are going to trade Carlos Beltran. When that happens, we will all write obituaries to his seven-year Mets career, the high times, the low times, the injuries, the last out of the 2006 NLCS. He will be underappreciated, we bet; fans often considered him more of a disappointment than he really was. Last night, as if he needed to, Beltran gave the Mets at least one more reason to cut him a break, to realize what they've had over the last near-decade.

Still recovering from a 105-degree fever, Beltran overshadowed Jose Reyes's return to the lineup by reaching base five times in a 4–2 win over the Cardinals. It was the type of performance that the Mets needed him to have, not so much for the win as much out of a need to show off, once again, how valuable he can be for a team down the stretch. (Even if that team is, agh, the Phillies.) This last stretch before the trading deadline is when teams stop thinking about sample sizes and start getting desperate, so there were surely lots of wide eyes and wagging tongues among Beltran coveters last evening.

It's always amusing, by the way, how baseball managers can be so close to the day-to-day process of running a clubhouse that they can lose all perspective on team management. (This is one of the many reasons there are no manager/GM jobs anymore.) Terry Collins has loved having Carlos Beltran all year, so even though the Mets obviously have to trade him, he doesn't want them to, regardless.

"I don't think I have to plea," Collins said when asked if he were pleading for the front office to keep Beltran. "Everybody knows my feelings about it.

Bless his heart. Managers always forget there's not only another game tomorrow, there are a whole bunch of them next season.

By the way, Jose Reyes had a single in his comeback game and pulled off two key defensive plays in the eighth inning, including a double play with the bases loaded and Albert Pujols at the plate. And in his first chance as closer, Jason Isringhausen, of all people, nailed down the save. Mets fans of course know Isringhausen as the onetime starting prospect burnout, but Cardinals fans know him as the agonizingly inconsistent closer whose injury allowed Adam Wainwright to become the Cardinals closer in 2006, which led to that 2006 NLCS Game 7, which leads us back to Beltran. This post just went full circle and blew your mind.

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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images