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Carlos Beltran, Bobby Valentine and Ron Hunt

Carlos Beltran has agreed to move to rightfield for the Mets, with his pal Angel Pagan replacing him in centerfield, and this is a good development for the Mets. It seemed pretty inevitable once Beltran arrived at camp last week and sounded conciliatory about the switch.

Beltran mentions, in David Lennon's story, that an outfield of him in rightfield, Pagan in centerfield and Jason Bay in leftfield is pretty good. And it is, provided all three can stay healthy.

--ESPN New York's Adam Rubin first reported that Bobby Valentine is trying to put together a group to buy at least a portion of the Mets. Good hustle by Newsday's Anthony Rieber, who caught up to Valentine today in Connecticut.

Valentine has plenty of interesting financial connections from his time in Texas, New York and Japan , and if this actually came to fruition, I'd think that he'd want to return to the Mets manager's office. However, such a scenario is a long, long way away from becoming reality.

It certainly is an interesting scenario, though, isn't it?

--I spoke with Ron Hunt today about the passing of Duke Snider, as Hunt spent his rookie season with Snider on the 1963 Mets.

It marked Snider's first season away from the Dodgers, and it had to be somewhat dispiriting for him, going from a perennial contender to a club that went 51-111 and could feel good about the significant improvement it made from 1962 (40-120, of course).

According to Hunt, however, Snider handled it like a total pro. As a 36-turning-37-year-old, Snider took the youngster Hunt under his wing.

"Whenever I was not playing, I’d listen to him," Hunt told me. "And then when I started playing, he started talking to me more about the mental part of the game. About knowing your shortcomings. The adjustments you had to make on the defensive side to accomodate your physical limitations.

"He also talked to me about how different teams like to pitch you in certain situations, try to make you do what they want you to do - pull a ball to the shortstop, for instance, when you're trying to go the other way. He taught me that sometimes it's good pull the ball hard, foul, just to show them that you could do that.

"Duke was very instrumental in my thinking the game, not just going out there and playing it. We stayed in touch over the years. Sometimes I'd go to a card show and see him. I still thanked him for what he helped me with. There was always a place on the bench next to him when I came off the field. There was always a seat there."

And yes, speaking of card shows, Bob Tufts noted in the comments from the previous item that Snider pled guilty in 1995 to conspiracy to commit tax fraud. He didn't report earnings from card shows and memorabilia sales. Our heroes are rarely perfect.
 

--Have a great rest of the day. And again, daily contests start tomorrow.

 

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