Although beloved Puerto Rican slugger Carlos Beltran won't be able to make the trip to the
tiny island east of the Dominican Republic with his teammates, the three-game series between the Marlins and Mets is going to be a special homecoming for a handful of players and Puerto Rico, itself.
Alex Cora, Angel Pagan, Jesus Feliciano and Pedro Feliciano are all natives of the baseball-crazed island and their return home couldn't be more special.
"This is a great opportunity to represent Puerto Rico and the Mets organization," Pagan told MLB.com. "I'm looking forward to it. The people in Puerto Rico are looking forward to it. It's going to be great for our country."
Although some players were able to take part in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic played there, just three mets — Jose Reyes, David Wright and Pedro Feliciano — were members of the 2004 team that played the Expos in San Juan.
"All Puerto Rican people are waiting for this," Jesus Feliciano explained.
"They're going to be real excited. We've got a lot of Latin players in
this ballclub, plus we have big stars like David Wright, so people have
been waiting for this for a long time.
"It's something that you cannot even explain," Feliciano added. "It's real great. I had the chance to play in the World Baseball Classic in Puerto Rico and it was awesome. I can't imagine wearing a big league uniform and playing in front of your friends, your family and your country."
For Cora, a 34-year-old veteran journeyman, his trip through the big leagues has come full circle.
"Not everybody can say that they played in their country in front of their fans," Cora said. "It's a dream come true."