In a weeklong series, The Post is looking at alternate realities in New York sports. Today’s edition looked at what would have happened had the Mets landed Alex Rodriguez in 2000. Here are some other big Mets what-ifs from the past 30 years:
What if Juan Lagares had started in center field in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series?
Kauffman Stadium’s vast outfield was a concern for the Mets front office, but manager Terry Collins went with Yoenis Cespedes in center over the defensively superior Lagares to keep the Mets’ better bats in the lineup against the Royals. Cespedes misplayed Alcides Escobar’s shot to center leading off the game into an inside-the-park homer. The Royals tied the game in the ninth on Alex Gordon’s homer off Jeurys Familia and won in the 14th inning. If Lagares starts, he likely makes the catch on Escobar’s ball and the game maybe doesn’t reach extra innings. Does the series — which the Royals won in five games — turn out differently if the Mets take the opener?
What if umpire Adrian Johnson had ruled “fair ball” on Carlos Beltran’s shot against Johan Santana on June 1, 2012?
The replays were conclusive: Beltran’s ball clipped the foul line behind third base in the sixth inning, meaning Johan Santana should have allowed a hit. Johnson called it foul, and Santana proceeded to throw the first no-hitter in Mets history. It came at a cost. Santana, who had missed the previous season rehabbing from shoulder surgery, remained in the game to throw 134 pitches. Struggling weeks later, he went on the injured list and never returned to the major leagues. If Johnson gets the call right, does Santana throw fewer pitches and does his career continue into 2013 and beyond?
What if Duaner Sanchez wasn’t so hungry?
The dominating Mets reliever, heading out for a late-night meal, was seriously injured in an accident in South Florida in 2006, when a drunk driver collided with the taxi in which Sanchez was riding. Sanchez’s shoulder injury left the Mets short in the bullpen, which hurt them in the NLCS against the Cardinals. Does a healthy Sanchez translate into a World Series title for the Mets and postseason berths in 2007 and ’08?