That's why the Mets went out and signed Beltran to a seven-year contract worth $119 million in the months after the center fielder had performed at such a high level in that series in '04.It took two seasons, but Beltran has now reached the pantheon of the stars. Bernie Williams and George Brett share the all-time record with nine LCS homers. It took Williams 41 games, all with the Yankees. It took Brett, 27 games, all with the Royals. Steve Garvey has the NLCS record -- eight in 22 games for the Dodgers and Padres. Beltran is two behind the record in just 11 games. "He's one of the best hitters in the game," Randolph said. "He's done it before. He's been on this stage and he seems to rise to the occasion when the big games come around. We saw it in the World Baseball Classic this spring. He had a different type of swagger to him, a different type of attitude and went out and played. You make a mistake with him, he'll make you pay for it. I love it." When the Marlins had their latest fire sale of key players last winter, the Mets didn't hesitate to partake. They traded three marginal players for him. Delgado, a left-hander hitter, bats clean up and gives the switch-hitting Beltran, batting just ahead of him, some much-needed cover.
That may be the most prominent reason why Beltran went from 16 homers and 78 RBIs last year to 41 homers and 116 RBIs this year.In the series, Delgado is batting .400 and Beltran is humming along at .333. Delgado, making the most out of his first postseason after 1,711 regular-season games, had a pair of homers and four RBIs against the Cardinals in a Game 2 debacle that the Mets lost after blowing three leads. There's no shortage of confidence from these two guys, who were both born in Puerto Rico. No shortage of backing up the words with historic deeds. "For me, it's a good feeling," Delgado said. "I played 12 1/2 years and never sniffed the playoffs. This is what every athlete wants to be, in the playoffs with an opportunity to win.
"And it couldn't happen to a better group of guys. We worked really hard all summer to be where we are. So we're going to play good and go out there and grind it, and enjoy it. I'm enjoying these playoffs. It's a blast, but I guess it's going to be that much sweeter when we win it."The B-D boys are trying to help the Mets win it. That's the last thing you need to know.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.