Wait, did that really happen? Holy crap, it did!
I’m late to the party on my Johan Santana post, but I think letting it sit inside me for 24 hours will ultimately make this more coherent. Trust me, last night around this time, I was far from that considering what had happened.
It took over 50 years and 8,020 games, but last night Johan Santana did something that was incredibly special. Special for himself, his teammates, the Mets organization, and Mets fans. Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history. Yes, it was their first no-hitter, ever.
Mets fans everywhere were locked in last night. Whether it be those at the game, those watching at home, tweeting, or getting constant updates from a fellow Mets fan via text. Everyone knew what was going on, but took their time at admitting it. I personally didn’t allow myself to move after the 5th inning. And for a team that never did it, oddly enough I really started to believe it would happen, especially after the incredible catch my hometown kid Mike Baxter, crashing into the left field fence (and likely putting himself on the DL). The only dilemma came as to whether or not they’d let Johan throw with his shoulder. SNY continued to show Terry Collins, who was clearly conflicted. I’m sure plenty Mets fans were thinking “only the Mets would remove their pitcher with a no-hitter”. Our typical spirit, ya know? But I knew there was no way, NO WAY, that Johan was leaving that game.
As he came out for the top of the 9th, I really sat their and said to myself “holy crap, he’s gonna do it”. I still didn’t leave my seat, still had my hands crossed just praying to the baseball Gods (and apparently last night, praying to Gary Carter), hoping for this to happen. Then to David Freese, after falling behind 3-0, Johan threw that nasty changeup, Freese swung and missed, and you heard Johan scream “YES!” Well, we all screamed the same thing at that very moment.
I’ve been lucky, well at least kind of. The Mets haven’t won a championship at all since I’ve been alive, but despite that fact, I have been lucky enough to witness many special moments in Mets history. Whether it be Robin Ventura’s Grand-Single, the 10-run inning against the Braves, winning the National League in 2000, Mike Piazza’s 9/11 home run, and the Division Title in 2006, there’s been many moments that have had a special place in my Mets heart. Last night ended up being a moment that absolutely matches those.
Sure, it was a no-hitter, and there’s already been two this season. But just think about everything leading up to it. This 2012 team was destined to be awful; they aren’t. Johan Santana didn’t throw a single pitch in 2011, and his pitch count was limited to 115. Last night? He threw 134. The guy shouldn’t have been out there, but he was. Why? Because Johan Santana is a gamer if I’ve seen one, and made me damn proud to say he threw the first no-hitter in Mets history, the year they are celebrating their 50 year existence in baseball.
The joke was the Mets never had a no-hitter. I even hit a point where I believed it would never happen, I just thought it defined what the Mets and Mets were. I remember Bobby Jones coming close, I remember Shawn Estes coming closes, I remember Tom Glavine coming close, I remember Steve Trachsel coming close, I remember John Maine coming close, and most recently I remember R.A. Dickey coming close. And before all that, I know the older Mets fans like my Dad remember plenty of other greats (see Tom Seaver) coming close. But last night, Johan did it. He EFFIN did it.
It’s a game and a night I will never forget, and the same goes for all Mets fans. It was one that will always mean something, and we’d all agree we are very happy that Johan Santana was the one to do it. There hasn’t been much to celebrate over the past five years, that’s for sure. But with all the bumps, we were giving one glimpse of light and joy. Something to celebrate.
There’s really only one more thing I can say here; thank you, Johan.