Mets beisbol, Puerto Rican style

Despite the tremendous popularity of baseball in this US territory, only 21 Puerto Rican natives opened this season on big league rosters. The Mets employed three of them — Angel Pagan, Pedro Feliciano and Alex Cora — and recently added another in Jesus Feliciano, who may soon lose his roster spot to countryman Carlos Beltran. So it is of course fitting that the Mets — statistically the most diverse team in Major League Baseball history — are participants in the San Juan Series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

hiram_bithorn2.jpgPagan and Jesus Feliciano both live within a stone’s throw of San Juan, and both expected to have plenty of family and friends in the stands for all three games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Cora, who grew up further down the road in Caguas, said he would pay for any of his family and close friends who wanted to attend the games. This is a big deal for the native Mets, and it’s a big deal for Puerto Rico.

Even those Mets who played here before in the World Baseball Classic were struck by the gravity of wearing Mets threads in their capital city.

“I can’t imagine wearing a big league uniform,” Jesus Feliciano said last week, “and playing in front of your friends, your family and your country.”

Now, he no longer has to.

—–Follow along on Twitter @anthonydicomo.

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