Carlos Beltran is playing in his first World Series and prior to the start of World Series Game 3, the outfielder was announced by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente as the recipient of the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.
Oct 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) waves to the crowd as he is honored with the Roberto Clemente Award before game three of the MLB baseball World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: Tannen Maury/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Before taking questions from the media, Beltran made a statement in accepting the award:
Well, first of all, I have to thank God for this beautiful day and the opportunity of being here and being the recipient of this great award, that has nothing to do with the way you perform on the field; actually has something to do with what you do off the field, the impact that as a human being we have been blessed to play the game of baseball.
And in my life, I come from a humble family, a family that we fought together to get where we are right now. And I decided to use all the blessings that God have given me through baseball to help other families that cannot work like me, that have the necessity to continue to develop themselves. And that’s why I decide to build the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy back home in Puerto Rico. Because first of all, baseball, it was kind of declining. And the second thing, I felt by me building something, it was going to impact a lot of kids back home in Puerto Rico.
And at the same time not only in baseball, but the most important thing for me was academics. Having the opportunity to educate kids. Through baseball you can have education. And at the same time the game of baseball is a game that comes and go, but education is something that stays with you for the rest of your life.
And for me, like I say, I feel very honored, very blessed to have ‑‑ being able to be the recipient of this award, because when I think about Roberto, I think about ‑‑ never got the chance to watch him play or anything like that ‑‑ but there are lots of highlights out there, and by me watching him, I always, when I was a kid, I always wanted to be like him in one way, meaning having the opportunity to play baseball, having the opportunity to give back.
And he has been a good role model for all Puerto Rican players, but not only Puerto Rican players, he is a guy that impacted baseball worldwide, by the way he played the game, by also how good he was outside the baseball lines, giving back to the community and giving back to the people.
As I say I’m feeling very honored and thank you, Vera, for being here. This really means a lot for me, personally, but I know for my country back home, Puerto Rico, this is going to be something that’s going to be special. As a country right now we are going through tough moments, and I think this news are going to help the country to continue to move forward. So thank you very much, guys, for being here.
Q. Of all the things that have happened to you in your baseball career, where does this award rank?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Number first. I think being able to play this game and being able to win awards playing the game of baseball, this is something that a lot of people ‑‑ we have to do it. Playing the game of baseball, we have to do it. But giving back, not everyone chooses to do that. And that’s something that I take a lot of pride. I take a lot of pride not only playing the game of baseball, but I also take a lot of pride giving back, because I know when you give back, doors are going to be opened for you in your life.
Q. I was wondering how important do you think it is for kids to start giving back to their communities at an early age?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, you know what, I believe for me when I made the decision of doing the things that I’m doing, before I have the academy, I have done a lot of things when I played with the Mets. And every city I have played, I try to give back. I think it’s important. Giving back doesn’t have to mean that you have to give money; time also, being able to take out of your time to visit people that are sick in hospitals. So there’s different ways to give back, not only necessarily have to be with money‑wise.