My Love Affair With Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre is my favorite player. He is not just my favorite Texas Ranger, he’s my favorite player in all of baseball. It’s not because in his three years in Arlington that he has a batting average of .312 with 98 home runs, 299 RBI and OPS of .898 with 98 doubles, 2 triples and an OPS+ of 136. It’s not because he’s won a Silver Slugger, two Gold Gloves and made two All-Star Games.
My love for Adrian Beltre is because he has played with his guts hanging out. He’s played with hamstring injuries and still finds a way to hit a big home run. It’s because the day we launched this website he hit three home runs in Tampa to beat the Rays in the ALDS. It’s because he hates his head being touched, but realized it became a great celebration after his dingers. It’s because Adrian Beltre is everything that is right about baseball. Forget the home runs, the cycle he hit for, and the tremendous defense. Adrian Beltre plays because he absolutely loves the game, he loves winning and will cut his own arm off for the betterment of the team. Adrian Beltre is sort of our own Black Knight, except he wins the battles.
There has been talk about Beltre being moved off of third base to make room for Jurickson Profar. Good luck to whoever is given the task of telling him. I would love to be there to witness the messenger being shot.
Beltre had a down year by his standards. He was hurt, made a few more errors than normal and went through prolonged slump. Adrian Beltre, even at the age of 35 (on April 7th) will have a bounce back year. He’s still going to hit over .300 with 25+ bombs. And when he does, we’ll all exclaim “Oh Shit!”
There has also been talk that Adrian Beltre is a “Wash guy.” This could not be further from the truth. I’m not sure who and who are not Wash guys in that clubhouse, but Belts is not a “Wash guy.” Ron Washington is a “Beltre guy.” You don’t have to be in the clubhouse daily, like a beat writer is, to see the respect that Wash has for our beloved 3rd baseman. Beltre is a man’s man and everyone on the Rangers sees that and admires him. When you look up warrior in the dictionary this picture pops up:
At some point Beltre will no longer be able to play baseball at the level he has been accustomed to or to the level at which we have had the pleasure of watching. He’ll still battle. He’ll still try as hard as anyone who has ever played. But that day will come. Time is undefeated. On that day, I’ll be sad. On that day, I’m sure I’ll shed a sports tear or two. On that day, I’ll re-post this article. But he’s not done playing just yet.
In April during the Baseball Prospectus event the great Don Welke proclaimed:
“This is Adrian Beltre’s team. He is the straw that stirs the drink.”
I would like to serve Adrian said drink and thank him for playing without arms, or without legs or any other injury he has battled through. Adrian Beltre has not been a
part of a World Series winner. That needs to change. Adrian Beltre is a champion without the ring. The Commissioner’s Trophy belongs to #29 of the Texas Rangers. That’s my rally cry for next season.
“Get the ring in 2014”