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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Updated: October 24, 9:23 PM ET
What if … Beltran had swung the bat?

By Mark Simon
ESPN.com

GAME 7, 2006 NLCS

Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran's strikeout against Adam Wainwright was only his third in 27 at-bats in the NLCS.
What happened: Adam Wainwright threw "the best curveball of my life" and caught Carlos Beltran looking with the bases loaded for the final out of the series. The Cardinals won the game 3-1 and the series 4-3, then went on to upset the Tigers in the World Series.

But what if … Beltran had swung?

The newly released bestselling book "First Swing of the Mets Dynasty" tells the story of the game that launched the Mets into baseball supremacy, and the hanging curveball that Carlos Beltran crushed for a three-run walk-off double, putting the Mets into the World Series.

It tells how the 2007 Mets lived up to the accomplishments of the previous year's World Series sweep of the Tigers, edging out the Phillies for the division title with a strong performance in the season's final days. It has an inside look at the 2008 run to the postseason, in which the Mets again came through in the season's final days to claim a division title.

Your Turn

If Beltran had swung the bat, how would things have turned out differently? Share your alternative ending.
Everyone lamented how the rich got richer when the Mets, coming off their two titles, properly positioned themselves for Johan Santana, who won the NLCS MVP in his first season with the team. Santana's devastating changeup made the biggest difference in series wins over the Brewers and Dodgers.

It tells how Hank Steinbrenner fumed for days after the conclusion of the 2008 season. "The Mets got all the breaks, and now they think they've taken over this town!"

And it shares that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, bitter at the disappointment that came with two straight seasons of near misses, requested he be traded just prior to the start of the Mets' third straight World Series appearance. "I have to admit it," he finally acknowledged. "They're the team to beat." -MS