Now that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have officially been exiled off the Baseball Hall of Fame’s ballot, it’s time for voters to move onto the next burning question.
Forget steroids. When former Yankees, Astros, Mets and Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran hits the ballot in 2023, will he be forgiven for his role in the Houston Astros’ tech-based cheating scandal? And, if so, how quickly?
Baseball fans haven’t heard a peep from Beltran since he lost the Mets managerial job before his first game, the Astros scandal unfolding during his down time before the 2020 season. Since that decision was made, both Alex Cora and AJ Hinch have gotten new managerial jobs — and Cora was, inexplicably, allowed to return to his former position as if nothing had happened. Beltran? He was entirely silent.
As rumored, the Yankees have filled one of their open analyst roles on the YES Network with Beltran’s voice.
He’ll provide commentary on 36 games in 2022 — his former jersey number — and will apply his intimate knowledge of the game’s subtleties in a significant first step towards being embraced by the game again.
Yankees hire Carlos Beltran for 36 games on YES Network
Now, the last time we proclaimed someone the “Yankees’ manager in waiting behind Aaron Boone,” he left for a hitting coach job with the Mets less than two weeks later. We’re not making that mistake again.
But Beltran has certainly gotten a well-deserved reintroduction to the spotlight as this news becomes official.
Inexplicably, he accrued more blame for the Astros’ scandal than the coaches who oversaw the development of the scheme — including Cora, Beltran’s reported partner in crime in this “player-driven” scheme. Since Rob Manfred did not see it fit to punish any of the active players, the baseball world took their anger out on Beltran, one of the very few Astros who had transitioned to inactivity after 2017.
Again, Hinch and Cora returned to the dugout before Beltran was allowed back in the ballpark. Don’t think we didn’t notice.
Ironically, Beltran was renowned for his exceptional ability to swipe signs and pick up on hints legally long before he was known for trash-can banging. His intricate knowledge and well-honed genius led to Alex Cora’s purposefully suspicious comments about Beltran being the Yankees’ greatest asset after New York pummeled Boston in the London Series.
Seriously, is anyone worse than Cora? Anyone anywhere?
At the time, even those within the Yankees organization weren’t entirely certain they could trust Beltran with their corporate information due to his Houston association. Clearly, he’s made strides in that department, too.
We can’t wait to hear Beltran’s unique insight this season, even if it’s only limited to 36 games. Perhaps it’ll be the first step en route to the rehabilitation of his public image. At the very least, it’ll make Cora nervous.