Rest in peace, glove.
The Gold Glove days of veteran Carlos Beltran are long behind him. At 40 years old, he isn't as spry as he was in his youth with the Royals nearly 20 years ago, and his defense in the outfield has been lackluster enough that he transitioned into a more or less full-time designated hitter role last season with the Yankees. That's been especially the case as a member of the 2017 Astros: Beltran has barely had reason to pick up his outfielder's glove, having played just nine games in the outfield all year.
Thanks to his advanced age and a plethora of options for the Astros in the outfield—along with starters George Springer, Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki, the team also has defensive whiz Jake Marisnick and utility player Marwin Gonzalez on the roster—Beltran hasn't patrolled the his usual haunts in the corner outfield since May 16, when Houston took on the Marlins in Miami and the DH spot was unavailable. But the sight of that glove gathering dust in Beltran's locker was apparently too much for his teammates to bear. So, before Monday's game against the Mariners, they took it upon themselves to bid farewell to an old friend.
“I love it,” Beltran said later. “I have fun with them. They have fun with me. That's what a team should be.”
Let's hope that, instead of mourning, the Astros remembered all those beautiful moments: the diving catches, the snared line drives, the way the glove used to crack when a ball hit the pocket just so. We're not saying goodbye to an old man's inability to play the field; we're celebrating the life that glove had, and what it used to be.
Anyway, it's a shame the Astros got rid of Tal's Hill, because that would've been a terrific burial spot.