Editor's Note: This post was written by MetsFanSZ. Please direct any comments or feedback to him. - Mike S.
Met fans of our age, mine, Mike's, NostraDennis, and probably Gary Cohen, have many words that go with the occasion of the first REAL no-hitter in Mets history. We remember Karl Erhardt and the signs he held up at Shea. And the best one when Cleon Jones caught Davey Johnson's fly ending the 1969 World Series -- "THERE ARE NO WORDS!"
Today -- there are words.
"Finally" is way too obvious. "Hallelujah", the same!
Many words have been written -- I'm reading as many as I can. MetsBlog, ESPN, The Times, Newsday, The News, The Post. The word that keeps ringing in my head today is emotional. I am so overcome by emotion last night and today. My youngest child graduated from high school last week and I was emotional. I am not that emotional by nature. Today, I am overcome. I keep breaking out crying, I'm so happy.
We have waited so many years for last night's final moment. The swing. The ecstasy. There's another word. Many of us remember Jesse Orosco's glove fling to the heavens in 1986. Fewer remember Cleon bending a knee in thanks to a higher power in 1969.
Another word that comes to my mind is credit. I want to give so much credit to Terry Collins. It was clearly so hard to leave Johan Santana in the game. He made it clear with his words at the press conference after the game. If Johan is hurt or can't pitch the way he has so far this year, it is true that you may have just imperiled the future of the franchise.
But today is a day of celebration - another word. So many things - the St. Louis newspaper that ran the headline"No-Hitter" and put an asterisk next to it. Two words come to my mind in response - the two I don't say out loud in public. I couldn't hear what Adrian Johnson was saying to Jose Oquendo or Mike Matheny, but give him credit. He had to be saying, "Right or wrong, I called it as I saw it and whether the ball was fair or foul, it's foul because I called it foul". And forever it will be officially foul, fair or not. And as Howard Cosell used to say, that's the way it is.
Give credit to Johnson too, for not throwing either of them out of the game and for listening to them, and then telling them to get back in the coaching box and get back in the dugout.
Give Baxter credit for the catch and the crash, and for being one of us, a kid who grew up on Long Island or in Queens and rooted for the Mets. No matter what kind of career he has, we'll always root for him. He'll be linked to people like Endy Chavez and Ron Swoboda for unbelievable catches that will forever live in Mets lore.
I give credit to Carlos Beltran, too, for having the sense to say one hit more or less wouldn't have been the difference and they needed more. Beltran was a great Met, providing a lot of good years, a number of great moments, when he was healthy. He's a class guy and deserved a good hand when he came up to bat.
Ironic is another word that comes to mind. The irony of Oquendo being the coach arguing about Beltran's liner. Oquendo was a fantastic fielding shortstop - I always believed he could have been a better fielder than Ozzie Smith. He never learned to hit enough, as Ozzie did, and while he had a good career, he's had more time as a coach. And the irony of Beltran hitting the ball that could have been the hit. Or Yadier Molina hitting the ball that Baxter caught.
How about that Philip Humber, who was traded for Santana, becoming the 7th ex-Met to throw a no-hitter before the Mets got one? Or Nolan Ryan, throwing 7 no-hitters after leaving the Mets? Irony?
Give some credit to Josh Thole, too, coming off the disabled list and catching a no-hitter.
Mets fans live and die with our team. Not the front runners who show up when the team is in first or wins the division. I was at Shea Stadium for a game in September 1985 when Dwight Gooden beat the Cubs. Keith Moreland hit a slow roller in the fifth inning that Ray Knight bobbled and could have picked up and thrown out the lumbering Moreland. He didn't and for years, I swore I would deck the official scorer who scored it a hit instead of an error. I've heard Rick Sutcliffe agree on-air that that should have been a no-hitter.
After leaving New York for Florida, I could only dream of at the very least seeing the no-hitter, when it happened, finally, on television. I hoped, I prayed, I would sit and not move until the first hit happened in any game that a few hitless innings would be strung together. Today is like a DREAM. The other words that come to mind - CLASS and LEADERSHIP. What unbelievable class Johan Santana shows. Consistently, constantly. A part of OUR team. Could any of us be happier for him? Seaver getting it with the Mets would have been incredible. Same with Gooden. Santana is a perfect choice. Now, with the albatross slain, perhaps Dickey could get a no-hitter. Or even Niese.
The leadership shown by Santana and Wright on this club has been fantastic. The roles played by the bench and players we never expected to even be in the majors have been fabulous. Alderson and Collins deserve some credit, too. Johan said last night that he knows how much this means to New York, to the New York Mets, and probably he meant to include us, the fans. What it means to us, how it feels, CANNOT be put into words. Maybe Mike Baxter can understand. So few moments in Mets history come close.
Congratulations, Johan. Thank you, Terry Collins, for having the guts to let Santana finish it. Congratulations Mets on finally, finally, killing the albatross. I will miss NoNoHitters, a wonderful website. I know they aren't Padre fans. Maybe they'll cede the website to them.
While watching Saturday's game, Beltran doubled off R.A. Dickey. Let the new streak begin.
To all of us REAL live-and-die-with-our-team Mets FANS, I say, CONGRATULATIONS! Cry, laugh, smile, celebrate. Thank you, Johan. For a glorious moment that will live forever in all of us.