On the subject of Beltran, this is a pretty good article:http://www.theplayerstribune.com/carlos-beltran-astros/
Astros fans, I’m here to tell you: It’s going to be a special year. Mark it down. I can already tell … after just one dinner uptown.
At first the three of us were just sitting at the table making small talk, but then, all of a sudden, José turns to me with this really serious look and starts talking baseball. It was like he couldn’t take it anymore. He had something he needed to bring up.
“Carlos,” he said, “I need to get better.”
At first, I just kind of looked at him.
I mean, this is a guy who has been one of the most consistent players in the big leagues pretty much from the day he got called up. Last year he hit .338.
So he continues on, and he’s asking me for advice on how to improve when it comes to hitting certain pitches. He’s like, I know I didn’t hit such and such pitch great last year. What can I do to hit that pitch better?
This guy’s not happy with .338. He thinks he can hit .360. He’s like, Carlos, I know I can hit better. And he’s absolutely dead serious.
The whole time, Correa is just smiling and kind of shaking his head.
I’d always heard stories about Biggio, about how dedicated and passionate he was. So I went and talked to him about the uncertainty I was feeling.
When I was finished, he looked at me, and thought for a second. You could tell he was really considering how to respond. “Carlos,” he said, “in the National League, they throw more fastballs. I want you to be more aggressive over here. It’s not like the American League where they pitch around certain hitters. Don’t be hesitant. You’ll see good pitches over here. Just hit them. You’ll be fine.”
It made perfect sense, and, of course, I listened. Then I spent the rest of the season learning everything I could from Biggio. I watched him like a hawk.
There are four or five guys who really shaped me into the player and person I am today. Craig Biggio is one of those guys. I owe so much to that man.
I saw how he went about his business, and prepared for each game, and the way he played hard every single day — and I mean super hard. I remember thinking: This guy’s an animal. This is unreal. Where does he get all that energy? More importantly, though, I was like, That’s the example I want to follow right there.
Over the years, I’ve become passionate about helping guys get through those down times — whether it’s sharing preparation tips, or things I do in the cage, or just providing encouragement. If someone’s struggling, or needs some guidance, I want to do all I can to help, and I told A.J. that straight up.
Then, when I decided to join the Astros, I called him up and relayed a very simple, straightforward message.
“Put my locker next to young guys who I can help,” I said. “Get me around the kids … the players who I can have an impact on. In spring training, during drills, whenever you can. Give me the opportunity to help all the young players get better.”
He promised me he’d do that, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
To be honest with you, it’s very possible that this may be my last go-round, so you better believe I’m going to give it my all.
But let me not get ahead of myself. I’m not thinking about all that right now.
At this point, I’m just looking forward to getting things rolling at Minute Maid Park in a few months. In preparing for the upcoming season, I often find myself thinking back to that 2004 Astros team … and how we came up just short. I can’t wait for the chance to come through in clutch situations, and get big hits, and do everything else I can to help us get over that final hurdle this time around. And if, in the process, I can somehow help ’Tuve figure out how to hit .360, well … all the better.
Good stuff, good times, good talk.
Can't wait for the season to get here!