Endy Chavez has been robbed of his place in history. He should have been the start of a rally for the Mets in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS to beat the Cardinals and move on. With Jim Edmonds on first and Scott Rolen at the plate, Chavez who had somehow managed to hit .306 robbed a home run that would have put the Cardinals up 3-1 and threw to first base to double up Edmonds.
It was an incredible catch to watch and changed the momentum of the game.
Or it should have.
Instead, Yadier Molina hit a home run in the ninth to put the Cardinals up 3-1.
It was Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez who had hits in the 9th and Cliff Floyd and Jose Reyes were due up. Surely this would be the moment. Endy Chavez would be the player of the game and the Mets would move on to their place in history, having assembled the perfect team to make their run.
Cliff Floyd struck out.
Jose Reyes flew out to center.
Paul Lo Duca walked.
The bases were loaded.
Adam Wainwright was pitching to the man that was brought to the Mets just for this moment. Beltran’s contract included a rental and operator for an “ocular enhancer.” This is a fancy name for a pitching machine that sends tennis balls at 150 mph so that batters can get used to the speed of a pitch.
Surely this was the time. Despite the fact that Adam Wainwright threw two quick strikes to Beltran but there was no way Beltran was going to fail… right?
It was set up perfectly. Endy’s catch, the bases loaded, the star player with the ocular enhancer. This was the moment.
Then it happened.
Wainwright delivered a curveball that locked up Beltran and the season ended without a swing.
Chavez was being paid $500,000.
Beltran was being paid $15 million and an ocular enhancer.
Maybe they can start making ocular enhancers that can throw a curveball.
Years later Beltran would be hired to manage the Mets, only to be fired for being involved in the Astros cheating scandal involving stealing signals and banging trash cans.
Ocular enhancer badder.