Beltran offers no excuses after loss
Mets star disappointed, but vows club will succeed in '07
NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran handled his immense disappointment with a dignity that would have been applauded by his idol, the late, great Roberto Clemente.Standing at his locker, clear-eyed and clear-headed, Beltran offered no excuses and few regrets as he described to one media group after another what it was like to take a called third strike from Cardinals closer Adam Wainwright to end what had been a dream season for the Mets in a personal nightmare. "I've had so many beautiful moments in my career, in my life," Beltran said, absorbing the full impact of Thursday night's 3-1 Game 7 loss in the National League Championship Series at Shea Stadium. "This was one of the bad ones I'll remember forever. "It's tough. It's difficult. I'll have to live with that. But that's life." Beltran vowed to get back up and make memorable things happen. "Next year, we're going to be a better ballclub," the center fielder said. "The front office is going to add [a few] players to the ballclub, and with what we already have, we're going to be better. "We're going to get to the World Series. I have faith. We're going to accomplish that." Beltran, who produced 41 regular-season homers and three in the postseason -- all in the NLCS against the Cardinals -- said he and his teammates should try to focus on their considerable achievements in a breakthrough season in the NL East. "We did accomplish something," he said. "We won a division that was owned by the Atlanta Braves. We're proud of what we did. We're disappointed we're not in the World Series -- that was everyone's goal -- but we are going to get there." Beltran's opportunity came in the bottom of the ninth after Yadier Molina's two-run homer against Aaron Heilman had given the Cardinals the lead in the top half of the inning. Singles by Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez and a walk to Paul Lo Duca loaded the bases around a strikeout by pinch-hitter Cliff Floyd and line-drive out to center by Jose Reyes.
"Bases loaded, our big guy up there, that's what you're hoping for there," said David Wright, who singled home the only Mets run in the first inning against Jeff Suppan. "These guys never gave up. We did everything we could, but you have to tip your cap to the Cardinals."Reyes said he was optimistic Beltran would come through. "Carlos is great in those situations," Reyes said. "But their guy made great pitches. Sometimes that happens. It's a tough game." Wainwright got ahead in the count 0-2 with a changeup and curveball, then dropped a big breaker into the strike zone, leaving Beltran unable to uncoil. "That was an unhittable pitch," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. "The guy threw an unhittable pitch. You have to give him credit." Asked if he considered the season a success, Minaya shook his head. "No, successful is winning the World Series, going to the World Series," he said. "Looking at the big picture, we made strides to respectability, yes. We are respected in the industry. "The better team won the series. They are the better team. But I'm very proud of our team. They left it all on the field. I hope to be here for many years to come."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.