We interviewed Mets center fielder Angel Pagan recently at Citi Field. Angel has been on the disabled list since the beginning of the season and we hope he comes back soon.
Who is your best friend on the team?
To me, all my teammates are my friends, but I really get along with Jose Reyes. I think we have a great relationship. We’ve been playing together since 2000. We just got a special relationship.
What inspired you to be a baseball player?
My mother. My mother was my first coach. She taught me how to play baseball. She used to take me to the baseball field pretty much everyday because she used to play softball. After I was watching her playing, I just fell in love with the game. I started playing, and since right now I love this game.
Do you speak more than one language?
I speak Spanish, English and Spanglish.
If you had another career what would it be and why?
Well, I’d like to stay in sports. If I had another career it has to be like a trainer or massage therapist. Anything that involves sports.
Who was your toughest pitcher?
I can tell you the toughest one I’ve faced, even though I have good to say against him, Roy Halladay.
Can you hear the fans screaming at you when you’re at bat?
I don’t pay attention to the fans when I’m playing. I pay attention and focus on the game because you can’t pay attention to what’s around you because you can be distracted. You have to focus on your job and play baseball.
Did you always want to be a baseball player?
Always. I have another favorite sport: I used to box a little bit. But my abilities were for baseball, were made for baseball, and ever since I touched a baseball field I fell in love with the game and I set up my goals to be a professional player.
When you lose a game, are the fans supportive?
Yeah. Sometimes you’re going to get the fans a little bit upset because the fans are always expecting you to win, but I think the fans have to understand that every day we go outside and try to do the best from ourselves and try to win our ballgame. But reality is we’re not going to win them all. So I understand their frustration.
If you could finish your career in baseball, do you want to finish it with the Mets?
Of course. This is a great organization that has given me a big opportunity of my life, so I would love to finish my career with the Mets. Yes.
What is it like in the locker room?
We’re always talking, laughing, but knowing that we have to prepare for a baseball game at 7 o’clock, we have time to have fun, but there has to be a time where the fun stops and you have to concentrate in what the baseball game is all about. So you have to have your own routine and start preparing at a certain time.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing baseball?
You spend so much time on the field that you owe time to your family. So whenever I’m not playing baseball I like to spend time with my family. If I’m not with my family I like to go fishing. That’s something I like to do as well.
What do you do before a game?
Before a game, first of all I pray. I like to pray to God that my teammates don’t get hurt and we can play a game safe and after that I just get dressed and go to the weight room and start stretching and sweating a little bit before I go outside before I start running around.
Did you always want to be a famous baseball player?
I wanted to play professional baseball player, yes, that was my biggest goal. I grew up watching Bernie Williams, Juan Gonzalez, and I always wanted to play where they were playing. As a kid you don’t know what professionalism is all about, but now you’re here and you appreciate this and you want to be the best that you could be so you can be an example for many kids in the world.
Do you like to play day games or night games?
The number says I’m a great day game player, but it doesn’t matter to me. I just love playing baseball. It doesn’t matter if it’s day game or night game.
What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you while you were on the field?
A couple years ago I was on second base and I thought it was two outs and a fly ball was hit to center field and I kept running to home plate and it was only one out and they threw to second base and they got me on double play. So they thought I was crazy. It’s something that could happen to anybody. It’s something that will happen to you, but as long as you learn from it, it’s good. It won’t happen again.
Are you involved in any special charity?
I’m involved in anything that has to do with helping people. This organization is about helping the community and that’s what I like to do. Anytime the team needs me to go anywhere and put a smile on a person in need, Angel Pagan is going to be there. And also in Puerto Rico I like to visit hospitals and houses with kids that are being abused. That’s something that touched my heart, and as long as I have health and I’m playing baseball, I’m going to take advantage of that so I can keep helping people.
Did you pick the number 16 or did the team pick it for you?
They gave it to me, but it is a special number because since I have that number I’ve been having great years and helping the team a lot. It became a very special number for me.
Are you excited about having a new manager?
I am. I think Terry Collins is a guy with a lot of leadership and that’s something that this team needs, and I think that’s going to take us really far this season.
If you could be on any TV show, what would it be and why?
I’m going to have to think about that. You got me. I’d like to be in any sport TV show. I’m a sports fan and I’d like to be in a very important TV show so I can accomplish my goals as an athlete and be seen around the world.
How old are you?
I’m 29 years old. Don’t tell anybody!
What is your favorite food?
Anything that has to do with rice and beans. I’m from Puerto Rico anything rice and beans I’ll eat it.
How do you think the Mets are going to do this year?
Great. We have a brand-new team, and I think if you’re healthy enough we’re going to be on the fight. We’re going to do better than people are expecting.
How old were you when you joined a baseball league?
I was 7 years old when my mother taught me how to play baseball.
Does anything stand out when you were a child?
Oh, yeah, I come from a really poor neighborhood. So I always remember where I come from, and every time I’m in Puerto Rico I try to visit where I come from so I don’t forget where I come from.