A veteran of 14 seasons in the majors, two trades, seven All-Star Game
appearances, one $100 million contract and knee injuries that frame his
career, Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran understands that -- even if he
lets his guard down and his personality out -- all ballplayers, in the end,
are "judged by numbers," he says.
His wife, Jessica, suggests one number that she has counted. It won't appear anywhere on his baseball card.
"I've seen Carlos cry three times," she says. Twice at the school in their native Puerto Rico that he helped build and that is named for him, at the groundbreaking and at its opening; and the third time when, after the couple had two miscarriages, he wept at the birth of their first child, daughter Ivana.
Carlos suggests that is three more times than anyone but friends and teammates might expect.
"I'm serious. Honestly. When it comes to what I do -- play baseball -- sometimes I'm too serious," Beltran says. "I wish it could be different in some areas. At the same time, that's who I am. If I'm being different, then I'm not being real. I'm being fake. I guess it's part of my personality. In the clubhouse, I have fun, joke around. That's something I like to do. It's like nobody sees that. That's behind the scenes. Once I'm on the field, you know, I am just all business."
"He has the emotions," Jessica finishes his answer. "He doesn't show it."
When Jessica met two Post-Dispatch journalists at the door to the family's St. Louis-area house last week, she had their 9-month-old daughter, Kiara, balanced in one arm. It was lunch time, and the baby had just woken up. She's "on a baseball schedule," Jessica explained.
In his first year of a two-year contract with the Cardinals, Beltran's family has settled in Chesterfield and fallen for St. Louis. Carlos tweeted a picture of the family enjoying Ted Drewes' concretes. The zoo is a favorite of 4-year-old Ivana's. In the clubhouse this week, he quizzed teammates about just how small the elevator pods are that carry people to the top of the Gateway Arch. And next month he plans to host a charity event in his new town.
The family invited a reporter to visit their home because the event allows Carlos to do something he doesn't often do at the ballpark -- let people in.
On Sept. 5 at The Four Seasons, the Beltrans will host a Latin-themed evening that will feature food, dancing and music inspired by their native Puerto Rico, at $200 a ticket. Two dancers from "Dancing with the Stars" will attend, and if Jessica has her way, they will have to share the floor at least once with Carlos.
Jessica describes "A Night in Old San Juan" as a chance to "bring a little of our culture, our flavor here to St. Louis." She also sees it as a chance to reveal Carlos beyond the numbers.
"Just being able to play here, I wanted to be able to do something for the city and to have fun," Carlos says settling into the couch next to his wife for the interview. "Even though I don't look like much fun sometimes."
"See?" Jessica insists.
The event will benefit Cardinals Care and the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, a $10 million passion project for the outfielder. The campus, which opened a year ago, is a combination high school and training facility in
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