"Pedro, Carlos and Omar" is essentially an extended compilation of Daily News articles about the 2005 Mets. The book is edited well and tells a coherent story about how Omar Minaya was lured back into the Mets' fold by an ownership group tired of three straight losing season, with the promise of complete autonomy over the roster. The Wilpons fired two managers, Bobby Valentine and Art Howe -- each of whom had recent playoff experience, Valentine in the World Series -- and replaced him with Willie Randolph, who'd never managed in the big leagues before but who did have four Series rings as a Yankees coach. What contributions could Minaya and Randolph bring to the team?
Plenty, as it turns out. The Mets went out and did something they'd never done before -- signed a high-profile slugger under the age of 30 to a long-term, multi-million dollar contract. Say farewell to the shameful days of George Foster and Mo Vaughn. Along with Carlos Beltran came Pedro Martinez, fresh off his shutout in Game 3 of the World Series, with the hopes of getting Manny Ramirez right behind. Could Beltran bear up under big-market pressure? Could Pedro keep his sometimes whimsical, sometimes antagonistic attitude in check for a full year? Could he beat the Yankees?
The Mets don't make the playoffs in 2005. That has to wait for a thus-far glorious 2006 campaign that will probably be summarized in an afterword to the paperback edition of this book. However, they did finish third, at four games over .500 -- their best finish since the 2000 World Series season. They re-energized the fan base, capitalized on Fred Wilpon's promise to play "meaningful games in September", and gave a full year's experience to two youngsters who'd energize Queens in '06: David Wright and Jose Reyes. Best of all, they got rid of Braden Looper.
One caution: this is not hard-hitting investigative journalism. Apart from a few glimpses into the future, "Pedro, Carlos and Omar" is told one day at a time, in straight chronological order, and only with quotes taken from game-day articles. No-one is interviewed after the end of the season to provide perspective or commentary. This is not so much the untold story of the 2005 Mets, as a retelling of what we already knew from Rubin's Daily News articles from that year.
However, read in the run-up to the '06 playoffs, this book is a nice training montage showing how the Mets started to put it all together a year ago.