LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – The field is a lot smaller now... at least than it used to seem for Mets right-hander Pete Tago.
That’s because to a 10-year-old kid, it was the biggest field he’d ever played on. Now, as a 27-year-old professional, it’s likely the smallest.
But, in an unprecedented time with the Major League Baseball season suspended, the change of scenery is comforting.
“It’s definitely a different feeling being in my hometown in what should be the heart of spring training, getting ready to break for regular season. Everything’s day to day, man,” Tago said.
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Tago should be in Port St. Lucie, Florida - the Mets spring training home. This delay comes at the worst possible time for him. Just a few years ago he was a retired minor leaguer coaching high school baseball in Arizona.
And today he’s on the verge of making a Major League roster.
“It’s tough just building momentum within what I’m doing with my routine and with the medical staff and with the strength coaches, and then all of the sudden this virus hits,” Tago said.
As his teammate at Dana Hills in Dana Point it was obvious that even at 14 years old, he had a million dollar arm.
But his promising career quickly went from Rockies first round pick in 2010 to being traded to retiring at just 25. He handed the ball over, but never lost his love for the game.
“As I was teaching, I just realized I didn’t belong in a cage yet. I just realized my career wasn’t over,” Tago said.
And it turns out he was right.
He reinvented himself in Independent Ball... of all places. And he pitched so well that he signed with the Mets five days after his season finished.
But now, just as it has all come together and he was on the doorstep of making a Major League roster, he finds himself having to wait at least a little longer... on the call to the Bigs he’s worked towards his entire life.
“This is the center of my world right now, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This is where I need to be. I need to be on the field playing,” said Tago.
He hopes just another step in his road to The Show.