Sunday, May 30, 2010

Angel in my Outfield

Angel Pagan; Center Fielder; New York Mets

For a while it was fair to say of him; If it wasn't for Bad Luck,
he'd have no Luck at all.

Injuries are a reason he does not figure more prominently into the minds of Mets fans and less so in the collective Baseball thinking.  I fought the Pagan fight hard on the radio shows when everyone played the role of naysayer against him.  In spring training of 2008 he was having a tremendous spring and I believed he was winning the day and deserved to be the Mets' starting left fielder because of it. 
An injury short circuited that campaign and the Mets wound up signing another useless aged body for the position that year (eh..hem).  I remember being a little saddened in 2006 when we traded him to the Cubs and did nothing to really speak of there.  I was very happy when we re-acquired him for the 2008 season.

Even before this season started I wanted very much for Pagan to be the starting center fielder with Carlos Beltran still rehabbing from surgery.  The Mets incredulously brought in Gary Matthews Jr. who is presently accumulating outs at an 84% clip.  I keep screaming and kicking something every time I see him waste any of our precious 27 outs we get per game.  OUTS are like WEEDS.  If they were hard to come by everyone would want them.  But having Matthews here to fail miserably did solidify Pagan's role in center field.  I'm very happy he has also remained injury free so far.  The Mets would be in even deeper doodoo we think we are in, if it weren't for him playing a solid center field and being equally capable behind the plate.

I'll admit it.  I have a Man-Crush on Angel Pagan.  It's not something new.  But it is to you.
This is my 10th year of Crush for Pagan.

In 2001 the Brooklyn Cyclones (A-affiliate of the NY Mets) were born right here in my backyard;
Coney Island.
The first year in the New York-Penn League was a magical year for us Brooklynites cheering on our Cyclones; ecstatic to have Baseball back in the Borough.  We won our division and advanced through the first playoff round.  We were actually playing for a championship in our first year.

Angel Pagan was an outfielder for that Cyclones team and a crowd favorite.

The Brooklyn Cyclones and the Williamsport CrossCutters were tied at one game apiece in the Championship series, with the deciding game to be played in Brooklyn on a Tuesday night.

That game was all I had on my mind that morning.  My thoughts about Brooklyn winning a championship were the very thoughts swirling in my head, right up until the moment the events of 9/11 started taking place and changed everything.

That Championship Series was never resumed and both teams were declared co-Champions.

But like all teams we root for who do well, or were special to us, You Remember.  This isn't a tie-in, in any way to the events of that September morning.  This is merely to tell you, from their June Opener till that Sept. morning, how special that team became to me.  From that morning on, I can't live without them.

Angel Pagan was a member of that team.
 He was one of the swirls in my head when things started to transpire downtown.
Teams, players, years, and sometimes tragedy are unforgettable, to say the least.
And that's where Angel Pagan stays safely tucked away; indelibly branded in my memories regardless of how the rest of his career here goes.

As someone who is committed to the notion Carlos Beltran and the New York Mets are irreconcilably divorcing eachother, I'm glad Angel Pagan was finally able put together a good enough sample to warrant confidence with his baseball abilities.  It's not like Beltran is getting Wally Pipp'd here.  This has to do more with my CRUSH on Pagan and less to do with our Beltran situation.  Is Pagan the player of Beltran's callibur?  No.  Hardly.  But he's been a tremendous help around here and I hope he enjoys many more years to come in a Met uniform.

As for Mets fans...  If you're clinging to a hope that Beltran will come back and help, if not be a force on this team again?  Let Go!  Beltran is not going to do anything to jeoperdize next year; his contract year.  Having said that, I believe I already informed you I was one of Beltran's biggest fans; still am. 
But that ship has sailed.   (yes...Already).

I'm satisfied with my Angel in our Outfield.


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