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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Games That Weren't

This could have been the Angel Pagan Game. You remember the Angel Pagan Game, don’t you? It was in Washington, in May 2010. The Mets had been playing really badly on the road and had dropped into last place. Angel was first-division all the way, though. He made Nyjer Morgan look silly. He made Nyjer Morgan look like Angel Pagan used to look.

Angel drove one to the centerfield wall off that annoying ancient ex-Met junkballer Liván Hernandez who got better after leaving the Mets for whom he just kept getting worse. Morgan took an ill-advised leap (and wouldn’t it have been nice if more Nationals outfielders had taken ill-advised leaps in those days?) and missed the ball completely. The ball rolled back into center. Angel then got rolling — past second, past third, just kept going. I thought he’d find a way to get thrown out at home, but Angel always could run if we weren’t always confident he could think.

SAFE! Angel Pagan was safe with an inside-the-park home run!

That wasn’t all Angel did. Angel dove once and robbed Roger Bernadina (the pain in the ass from the week before) of a bases-loaded single, or maybe more if it got by. That was the bottom of the fourth, a half-inning after Angel went “coast to coast” as Gary Cohen put it. One of the best innings any Met had had in a long time.

But then came the fifth, which was at least as astounding. That was when Angel dove again with the bases loaded and came up with THREE OUTS. Yes, a triple play! It was a little dicey in that the umps were slow to call Cristian Guzman’s sinking liner an out — which it was without much mystery. Angel could have jogged in and tagged everybody and made it an unassisted triple play, murdering the ghost of Eric Bruntlett in the process, but when you rooted for the Mets in those days, you were just happy if Angel Pagan caught the ball and didn’t throw it in the wrong direction. He actually did overthrow second, but the Nats were even slower on the uptake than the umps. It was a weird 8-2-6-3 triple play (Henry Blanco backed up the bad throw and Jose Reyes made an unnecessary relay to first), but it was a triple play. All triple plays are perfect in the retelling.

What a game for Angel Pagan. It could have been the Angel Pagan Game. It should have been the Angel Pagan Game. And if it wasn’t going to be, it could have been the R.A. Dickey Game.

You remember the R.A. Dickey Game, don’t you? Do you remember R.A. Dickey? R.A. Dickey was that knuckleballer. Kind of looked like he just blew into town, the bedraggled drifter seeking only honest work. Well, he came out and gave the Mets their night’s worth. Very first batter he faced, Morgan, popped up. Big deal, you say? Dickey made it so, diving à la Pagan and making the putout himself on the line between home and third. Here’s a guy who had endured more than a month of pitching for Buffalo waiting to get his chance in The Show. He wasn’t taking anything for granted.

Dickey was a great story. He was starting because Oliver Perez should have been kicked out of town. Dickey the righty journeyman with no ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow (sounds impossible, right?) was outpitching Ollie the millionaire by a mile. He was matching Hernandez in a battle of fast-working slowballers, too. His knuckler was knuckling and baffling the Nationals. Before the inside-the-parker and the triple play, the night was shaping up as all R.A. all the time. He didn’t give up a hit ’til the fourth and kept the Mets in a 2-2 tie until the seventh.

It was more than Oliver Perez had done in any start but one through the first quarter of the season. It was just what the Mets needed. It was, all things considered, an outstanding Met debut for R.A. Dickey. It could have been the R.A. Dickey Game. It should have been the R.A. Dickey Game if it wasn’t going to be the Angel Pagan Game. The game the Mets played in Washington on May 19, 2010 should be remembered for at least one of them, probably both of them.

Instead, it went down as just another stupid Met loss.

19 comments to The Games That Weren’t

  • Jon

    Last straw for me. Jerry’s gotta go.

    • Guy Kipp

      A friend of mine saw Omar in line at LaGuardia at 10:30 this morning. Where he was headed is open to conjecture. Just putting that out there.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Greg Prince. Greg Prince said: The Angel Pagan Game? The R.A. Dickey Game? The Games That Weren't. #Mets http://wp.me/pKvXu-1sB […]

  • Andee

    This could have been one of the greatest Mets games of all time…if only they had won. I mean, from Dickey’s first sliding catch, to all the knuckleballs, and OMG ANGEL PAGAN…geez, are they really going to bench this guy when (yes, I said WHEN) Beltran is back? Frenchy seems like a stand-up dude and everything, but just because he’s the new Towel Boy doesn’t mean he has to start. (Towel Boy being my terminology for someone who is good at both snapping towels and teammates and creating paths to teammates’ lockers with them, and sticks around for precisely that reason.) Does he?

    If firing the manager will make Reyes start hitting, Frenchy start hitting, Bay find his power stroke, Wright quit pressing so hard his poop turns to diamonds…sure, go for it. But here’s the catch. Omar cannot fire him. He’s already shitcanned one manager; doing likewise to Jerry, who the Paid Media likes a lot better than they like Omar, will just get the organization roasted on a spit for “scapegoating” Jerry. The only way the fire-Jerry scenario works out is if 1) the Mets have an extended losing streak, like 10 in a row, or 2) Omar is kicked upstairs, and then Ricco fires Jerry. But don’t expect Omar and Jerry to be ousted simultaneously; that sort of thing almost never happens mid-season. And not re-upping Jerry after a losing season is not going to get them anywhere near the bad press that firing him now would.

    • mikeski

      Unfortunately, all of that makes sense.

    • oogieball

      Omar is clearly the one who has to go, but Jerry will be the one who gets the boot first.

      Frankly, I’m just trying to think of the worst possible way that the Mets organization can handle it, double that, and that is actually how the Mets will do it.

  • Rob D.

    Is the Angel Pagan game anything like the Endy Chavez game (May vs. Game 7 in October, but still)??

    • If Endy had picked up a two-out, bases-loaded hit in the bottom of the sixth, then we might have a most apt comparison.

      Then again, if he (or anybody else) had gotten a hit, Endy’s catch wouldn’t come up in a discussion of Met losses.

      • Still, this will be remembered as the Pagan Game, I think. The fact that they lost just makes it easier to remember.

        Winning or losing really makes no difference when it comes to being a “Game” kinda game. The Buckner Game and the Rick Camp Game are as identifiable as the Endy Game or the Pagan Game, or to another extent, the Pendleton Game and the Scioscia Game.

        In time, we’ll smile when someone mentions the Pagan Game. Losing will be the side note.

  • Joe D.

    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!”

    With apologies to John Greenleaf Whittier.

  • cropseymonster

    This team (and the entire organization, for that matter) needs a serious boot in the ass . . . Is Ray Knight still actively involved in MLB or college ball?

  • metsfanatic

    Love the recap. But I agree with Kevin…we will always remember the Angel Pagan Game especially because we lost. What a Met’s fan night. Do everything to go down in the history books and still lose. Has anyone ever pitched a perfect game and lost? That is about the only thing to top this.Oh the angst of being a Met fan. And yet with players like Angel I still hope.

  • Daviault

    It should be noted that the three players who are carrying this Mets team right now are the substitute centerfielder, the afterthought catcher and the not-ready-for-the-majors first baseman.

  • dmg

    i can’t stand it.

  • […] plays the way most people do — they’re the four-leaf clovers of baseball. I missed Angel Pagan turning his against the Nationals back in May, shook my head sadly when the Padres tripled up the Mets earlier […]