After lengthy negotiations with Carlos Beltran and his agent, Mets GM Omar Minaya has reluctantly granted the outfielder official permission to scratch himself on the field during the 2010 season.
"The key thing was that we followed protocol and did not veer away from the established process for handling such matters," maintained Minaya, fearing a repeat of the recent awkwardness following Beltran's knee surgery. In that instance, Minaya became so distracted by his winter-meetings quest for a #2 starter, a #3 starter, a #4 starter, a #5 starter, and three set-up relievers that he allowed assistants and doctors to handle the matter, thereby achieving the near-impossible feat of making Beltran's agent, Scott Boras, look like the good guy.
"The thing is," Minaya explained, "that Mets team policy for at least 15-20 years has been to prohibit our players from scratching themselves while in view of the fans. It's okay for them to adjust their cups, but scratching has been off-limits. So we had to be careful in this case to look after the interests of the fans and of Beltran, without establishing a precedent that other people can take advantage of."
Speaking through his agent, Beltran--who suffers from a chronic case of tinea cruris--said, "The Mets have known about this since I came here in 2005. And it really hasn't been a problem because, frankly, with all the other crap going on around here, it isn't that big a deal. But after that little misunderstanding about my knee surgery, we all felt it would be best to go through the process carefully to get it right." That process involved examinations by the Mets team physician in New York as well as Beltran's personal dermatologist in Blue Ball, Pennsylvania, meetings with public relations personnel and marketing firms, and surveys of Mets fans, of whom 62.4% declared that if Beltran hits 25 home runs and drives in 100 runs they won't mind if he moons them as he circles the bases.
Under terms of the agreement, Minaya said that Beltran will be permitted to scratch himself in center field any time the ball is hit to the first baseman or third baseman, or while at bat any time there is a two-ball count.
New baseball term, defined as "acting in the style of Mets management". The term: "minayacal."