Congratulations, New York Mets fans! Your suffering is over. No longer will you be mocked for never experiencing one of the greatest accomplishments in baseball history.
The Mets have been overachieving all season, surpassing all expectations and playing to within a game of first place in the National League East (and one game better than the New York Yankees). Now a Mets pitcher has finally accomplished a feat that some people doubted would ever happen: Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in franchise history. After all the near misses and the agony of watching former Mets throw no-hitters and perfect games for other teams, this one has to feel good.
It seems right that Santana is the guy to make Mets history, especially considering how well liked he is all across baseball. The congratulations quickly started pouring in when word of his no-hitter got around and the praise all seemed quite genuine, with many of his former teammates expressing pure joy at their friend’s feat.
Santana has had a terrific career, winning not one but two Cy Young awards. The Mets have had so many terrific pitchers over the years, namely the great Tom Seaver. But Santana is the one to finally put the Mets on the map when it comes to no-hitter pitching history. He did right by the Mets and by Mets fans, saluting them for their support that night and through his struggles with that injured shoulder. He also made a short and simple clubhouse speech that choked me up a bit when he told his teammates that they all did this together.
And a big bravo to Terry Collins for having the guts to let his “hero” stay in that game despite the possible damage throwing so many pitches could do to Santana’s surgically repaired shoulder. It was not an easy call. Yankees fans remember when Joe Torre pulled David Cone from a game against the Oakland Athletics with a no-hitter through seven innings in his first start coming back from an aneurysm. Collins wasn’t going to do that, not to his ace, not in front of those long-suffering Mets fans, who have stuck by the team through September collapses and Bernie Madoff.
Congratulations to Johan Santana for a feat 50 years in the making. And to those hard-core Mets fans, including my uncles, who stood by the Mets through all the tough times. You all deserve this moment.