Book Review: Pedro, Carlos And Omar

Pedro, Carlos And Omar

By Adam Rubin (Lyons Press, $22.95)

Typically, when a book is written about the season in the life of a team it is usually based on a team that was either exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. Rarely does a team that finished four games over .500 get the “season in the life” treatment, but the 2005 Mets are not your typical team.

For one, they play in the largest media market in the world. Beyond that, this is a team that for years has been fighting for the attention that goes to its crosstown rivals. The 2005 season was an attempt to get back on the back pages. First the Mets hired Omar Minaya as general manager, who proceeded to sign righthander Pedro Martinez and outfielder Carlos Beltran, the two biggest names on the free-agent market.

In “Pedro, Carlos and Omar” author Adam Rubin gives us an insider’s view of last year’s Mets team, beginning with their offseason pursuit of Martinez and Beltran and taking us through the tumultuous season.

Entering his fourth season as the Mets beat writer at the New York Daily News, Adam Rubin gives fans the kind of access you would expect from someone who covers the team on a day-to-day basis.

Early on, readers will see just how close the Mets were to missing out on both Martinez and Beltran, as well as how close they came to trading for the disgruntled Manny Ramirez.

The book then delves into a detailed account of the rocky season. Though the Mets began the year 0-5, they rallied to within a half-game of the wild card in early September.

For those who followed the season closely, much of the book will not provide you with information you did not already know. Rubin does a fantastic job of expounding on a number of anecdotes and rumors that did not make his newspaper column due to space limitations, however.

The reader learns how prized prospect Scott Kazmir annoyed both the front office and veteran players with some off-field antics. It was behavior that was part of the reason the Mets decided to trade the lefthander in an ill-advised deal for Victor Zambrano in July 2004.

Rubin also delves deeply into the struggle that Beltran went through in his debut with the Mets. While few will have sympathy for someone who signed a $119 million contact, his disappointing season is brought into focus as Rubin explains that Beltran was rarely healthy but too prideful to make excuses. After a horrific collision with Mike Cameron in San Diego in August, it is revealed that by forgoing surgery to get back on the field, Beltran risked future health issues. Foolish? Maybe, but it shows that while Mets fans can be angry at Beltran for not living up to his contract in his first year, they cannot accuse him of not giving it his all.

As always, the star of the show is Pedro. The righthander is up to his usual antics and provides Rubin with all sorts of tidbits that give the book a humorous edge.

While the 2005 Mets may not have been as exciting as the 1986 version, it would be hard to find a more comprehensive review of what was still a fascinating season.