The New York Mets introduced Carlos Beltran as their new manager at a press conference held earlier this morning in the Foxwoods Club at Citi Field. Ignoring for a moment what was said, as well as the perfectly understandable concerns at hiring a first-year manager, it was absolutely surreal and truly wonderful seeing Beltran wear the number 15 jersey that fans became accustomed to during his seven years playing for the team.
Following a “thorough and extensive search” with “a large group of qualified candidates with diverse skill sets and diverse backgrounds,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen lauded Beltran to begin the press conference. He thanked the team’s ownership group for their support in letting him take his time in hiring a manager, and thanked the team’s baseball operations team for their help in vetting candidates. Van Wagenen took a moment to praise Omar Minaya and Allard Baird, citing their “long and successful history with Carlos,” and their workin introducing Beltran in the managerial search.
Van Wagenen noted five strengths that set Beltran apart from the rest of the candidates: he’s poised, he’s trustworthy, he has a growth mindset, he’s committed to beating his opponent, and he has an “unrivaled appreciation and understanding of players.” In particular, the second-year general manager focused on the final point, saying that the Mets are a “players-first organization” while affirming that Beltran will be a players-first manager. Later, when asked why he didn’t go for the experience of Joe Girardi, Van Wagenen said that it was Beltran’s strengths, rather than any weaknesses on Girardi’s part, that won him the job.
With Van Wagenen’s opening slot finished, it was time for the headliner to take center stage. Beltran donned the Mets cap and number 15 jersey, which looked incredibly right despite the fact he hadn’t worn the uniform in eight years. Above all, Beltran looked comfortable to be back in the New York spotlight and seemed genuinely happy with the development. After thanking the organization and his family, Beltran stated, “I’m overwhelmed by this opportunity, but at the same time I’m excited.” He expressed his desire to bring positivity to the clubhouse that will make players want to come in every day and do their best.
At the same time, Beltran was clear that he is not afraid to have tough conversations with players and push them when needed, saying that this is something he became accustomed to later in his career. At this juncture in his professional career, Beltran said he believes he has more credibility to motivate players and be there in the good times and bad times, given the experiences he’s accumulated in the game. He followed up with some words in Spanish to his parents, at which point he became visibly emotional. He closed out his time with a message thanking the Mets for believing in him before saying he wants to “rewrite our story”.
During the question-and-answer portion that followed, Beltran cited his passion for the game and passion for passing on everything he had learned as the main reason why he wanted to get into managing so soon after his retirement. He expressed an excitement to speak with players individually to find out what motivates them as a way to get the best out of them. When asked about the current state of the team he will lead into next season, Beltran said, “I think we have a good ball club. We have to work hard in spring training, focus on areas we didn’t play well in last year” while praising the team’s young roster and their pitching staff.