I'm sitting with the Chapmans of recent Bar Mitzvah fame in the very first row of the Big Apple section in center field. It's a few minutes to first pitch. The Mets have taken the field and are tossing balls around to prepare them for the game. They do this all the time but when you're not sitting on top of the outfield as I was with Sharon, Kevin and Ross you don't really notice this ritual. We're not particularly close to Angel Pagan at that moment, but we're closer than we're ever going to be. So Kevin does the logical thing. He stands up, he waves his gloved hand and shouts something to the effect of, “HEY ANGEL! HOW ABOUT A BALL? RIGHT HERE!”
In the time it takes me to think “that's cute, but Angel Pagan is never going to thr…” Angel Pagan throws Kevin a ball. I mean a strike. That's a major league arm, no matter the throws he sometimes balloons into the infield. When Angel Pagan wants to let one loose, I can attest now that he can.
I can also add that Kevin Chapman has soft hands because he caught a major league throw without flinching.
The best part — as if a Met throwing a Mets fan a ball upon request is not a very good part — is upon inspection, it was revealed the ball was a Shea Stadium commemorative ball, one emblazoned with that precious 1964-2008 logo you saw everywhere last year. I guess they have a few gross somewhere in the back and they come in handy for loosening arms and sating fans.
After that, the game started, and Parnell pitched quite well, but the Mets didn't hit enough, and Pagan didn't catch as well as he threw, but then Tatis outhit the mistakes of his team's defense, and the Mets helped nail the Cubbie coffin closed for another year even if we had to do it from inside our own crypt.
Yet that's just the game. The action before the game…Angel firing a ball to Kevin just because Kevin asked — and the ball being from Shea…I know it won't show up in the boxscore.
But it really should.
Mets Weekly begins a three-part countdown of the Top 10 individual statistical seasons in teams history in the episode that debuts today at 10:30 AM on SNY and will be repeated at odd intervals. Look for me affirming the greatness of the players and seasons involved.