It was a hot, sticky Thursday night at Citi Field—the kind of night reserved for baseball and pennant races in August.
Billy Wagner, activated off the disabled list, was pitching his first game since Sept. 10, 2008. It was a feat that few but Wagner were sure could happen ever again, let alone a New York Mets uniform.
During the eigth inning of New York's 3-2 loss, Wagner provided what might have been the 14 most exciting pitches thus far in the lost 2009 campaign.
The ballpark had its loudest and most thunderous applause to date, as Wagner sandwiched a fly ball between strikeouts of Reid Gorecki and Brian McCann, pumping his fastball up to 96 miles per hour.
"After 11 months, being able to face that caliber of hitters, that raises the bar a little bit," said Wagner. "To know that I was pretty much written off that I wasn't going to be able to make it back, and to get back that quick, it was very enjoyable."
Not only that, but Thursday is a sad reminder of what could've been had the Mets not turned into team titanic hulling its season in the medical room.
Imagine what Wagner could've meant to a Mets team that was neck and neck with the Phillies.
Spelling relief for J.J. Putz and working as the ultimate left handed specialist. A ride that could’ve led to, dare we say, October.
Yes, there is plenty we could’ve imagined.
Now, Boston will soon have that chance instead.