Round and round he goes, where Beltran lands nobody knows

Nearly five years ago, Dennis Quaid and Jesus — OK, fine, James Caviezel — starred in a baseball movie that wasn’t a baseball movie. Frequency was a father/son tale using the Mets’ 1969 world championship as a backdrop. Now, another screenwriter has found inspiration in the other Mets championship, the one they won in 1986.

Game 6, which will premiere later this month at the Sundance Film Festival, appears to be another baseball-as-backdrop movie, despite what the title will have you believe. It also may turn out to be more of a Red Sox movie than a Mets movie, according to that aforelinked description on the Sundance site. (And at least this one won’t have the in-production backlash that the sight of Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore filming on the field during Boston’s celebration in St. Louis has sparked. About that: depending on how it’s edited, how can that be believable? Fans don’t rush the field anymore these days — the last I can remember was when the Mets clinched the division in ’86 — and when they do, a lot more than two make it to the infield.) But with Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Bebe Neuwirth and Catherine O’Hara, it’s got to be picked up and distributed by somebody.

* * *

My gut feeling on Carlos Beltran right now is that he’ll go back to Houston. I even signed a petition shortly after the Astros’ season ended to plead that he remain in Texas … before the Mets became a player, of course. I just wanted him to stay far, far away from the Bronx. Obviously, we’ll know if he’s going back there within he next 31 hours, since he has to sign with the Astros by midnight tomorrow.

But I’m still wary of the Yankees. I won’t buy that they’re out of it until 1.) Scott Boras names the teams who have made offers, and the Yanks aren’t one of them, or 2.) Beltran shows up at a press conference and dons a hat that’s not a Yankee hat or a jersey that’s not a Yankee jersey.

Murray Chass of The New York Times speculated today that George Steinbrenner might have simply told his staff to say the Yankees had no interest, intending to swoop in at the 11th hour. It was Chass, I believe, who first started the talk last weekend that the Yankees had no interest, and Buster Olney of ESPN.com (and/or The Magazine) has also said he thinks they are going to take a pass. But my thinking is that if they really had made the decision to go after Beltran but try to do it quietly, it would get out somehow, despite Steinbrenner’s wishes. There is only a certain number of people who can keep a secret about something before the media gets a hold of it.

There’s also been some discussion lately that Beltran’s not really worth what Boras is demanding. But a look at the list of similar players (scroll down below the boxes for “Appearances on Leaderboards and Awards”) shows one Hall of Famer in Dave Winfield, another power/speed outfielder in Bobby Bonds, and a borderline Hall candidate in Andre Dawson. Most telling, as Tim Kurjian points out in that first link, is that his walks have increased in the last four years while his strikeouts have dipped to the point where he’s nearly at a 1:1 ratio. He most likely won’t hit 40 home runs as a Met, but he’ll get on base and run, and he’ll cut off so many doubles in the gap at Shea.

The Mets would probably have to overpay to get him, but that’s what they need to do. I’d be happy with it, but I just don’t know if it’s going to get to that. Houston’s my gut feeling, but if we haven’t heard of it by Sunday morning, there very well could be a new No. 15 in Queens.

Unless, you know, the Yanks are playing possum.

* * *

Wade Boggs will go into the Hall wearing a Red Sox cap. It wasn’t really too hard to predict. It’s the right move by the Hall.

Doug Mientkiewicz, however, doesn’t understand the concept. He’s not giving the Red Sox the ball he caught from Keith Foulke for the final out of the World Series. (Of course, if Foulke were smart enough on his feet, he would’ve run the ball to first base himself for the final out, keeping it in his glove the whole time.) It would be one thing if Mientkiewicz came up with the Red Sox or maybe even played with them the whole season. I’m more inclined to think that Nomar Garciaparra has more of a claim to the ball than Mientkiewicz, who was only in the game as a defensive replacement. (Apparently Terry Francona learned from John McNamara what can happen when you leave a first baseman in for the final out for sentimental reasons.)

* * *

Since I love to make predictions, here are my quick picks for the NFL’s wild-card weekend:

I would like to see the Jets win, but I think with the way they struggled at the end of the season, with Chad Pennington’s recovering shoulder and with San Diego at home, it won’t happen. Might come close, they might cover, but I think it’s the Chargers, 28-24.

In Seattle, I don’t like either team. I could go with St. Louis, because they’ve had the Seahawks’ number; or I could go with the home team, because can one 8-8 team beat another three times in one season? If Shaun Alexander can control the clock, Seattle probably wins. But I like St. Louis’ weapons and scoring potential as a whole, so I say the Rams, 31-26.

On the semi-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field (gameday high expected to be 35 degrees), I don’t have the same misgivings about the Packers-Vikings divisional matchup threepeat. Minnesota has won something like two of its last 12 games outdoors. Daunte Culpepper may do The Roll after a touchdown to Randy Moss, but it’s Brett Favre and the Packers who roll on, 38-30.

I’m a fan of the scoring this opening weekend, aren’t I? I’m probably not the only one. Take away everything else in the Indianapolis-Denver matchup on Sunday except for three things: Peyton Manning, Jake Plummer and the RCA Dome. Is there any way you can envision Plummer beating Manning inside? Neither can I: Colts, 42-21.

Leave a Reply