Thank you, thank you everybody. I want to first thank the Mets organization for organizing this day for me. Owner Jeff Wilpon, President and general manager Joe McEwing, and a special thanks to manager Gary Carter, who really helped me with the transition to a life after baseball...this is certainly a day I thought would never come.You know, over the last few weeks of the season, I have been asked many times about the signature moment in my Mets career. And I've been reflective...and I've looked back at how my career has gone. I never could decide as to which moment was my favorite, there have been so many, but today I realize what it is.
Many may think it was the three home run game in 2010 against Philadelphia which clinched the division for the Mets. Some may think it was the diving catch that preserved the first no hitter in Mets history...I always knew you could do it Yusmeiro...and of course, that great season of 2008.
But when I look back, I look at the way my career here as gone, I have to say that the quintessential moment for me came on October 2nd, 2005. Now many may wonder why I would pick the last day of an 83 win season where we lost 11-3. But I'll tell you that it was the day I was taught to deal with adversity.
You see, October 2nd, 2005, was Mike Piazza day. I played center field that day, and looked around the stadium and marveled at the love that Mets fans showed Piazza, who played many great years here. It really started back in July, when we all knew he wouldn't come back. And for months Piazza got ovation upon ovation...fans saying good bye, and thank you.
I remember batting in the first inning that day hitting a double off the wall, and it was the greatest ovation I had heard that first season. I realized that the only reason I heard so many cheers was because my hit meant that Piazza was going to get an at-bat that first inning.
I looked around at all of the people in the stands who came and paid tribute to him, and looked back at my own season, which was the first season I spent in New York. It wasn't a good season...I slumped, I had an bad injury, and the fans...well, let's just say they paid good money to boo me.
I remember being in the lockerroom after that game and heard Piazza talk about a lot of things...reflecting on his career, and he mentioned something I couldn't believe. In 1998, when Piazza first came to the Mets, he was booed at Shea Stadium. I couldn't believe that the same stadium that showed Piazza so much love that day also was the very place that Piazza got booed somewhat regularly when he first got there.
At that point I knew to keep my head up, and play my game. It turned my career around, because it could have just as easily gone the other way. And starting in 2006, I never looked back.
And now, as I stand here before you...the greatest fans in the world...the same fans that booed me in 2005 (laughter), I tell you that I am proud and honored to have my number 15 on the left field wall...right next to my teammate and friend, Mike Piazza's number 31. Mike, I thank you, for teaching me an important lesson about perseverance, about pride, and about what it means to play the game of baseball...and love the game of baseball. I stand before you and tell you that I love the game of baseball, and I love all of you. I wish Mike could be here today, but I know he's busy managing the California Angels to another division title, but I want to say thank you Mike Piazza, and thank you all. (Applause, sprinkled with chants of "Car-los Bel-tran".)
Sunday, October 02, 2005
We now propechize in the distant future: Fan Appreciation Day, 2015...Carlos Beltran to the Shea Stadium podium, amidst thunderous applause:
Posted by Metstradamus at 3:57 PM