“He Said I Was His Hero”

It finally happened. And it couldn’t happen to a better guy. History was made tonight, in case you hadn’t heard. Johan Santana – “Johan The Magnificent” – threw the very first no-hitter in the history of the New York Mets. Mere moments ago. It took a spectacular Mike Baxter robbery of a long fly to left – for which he has sacrificed a working shoulder for the moment – to keep it in place, but HOLY CRAP! It happened! I’m having trouble typing this. My hands are shaking. Mew emotions are barely under my control. The last time I was shuddering and pacing like I was in the ninth tonight was moments before the ball trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs. As a banner at the 1969 World Series read, “There are no words…”

I watched Johan’s post-game interview, where he acknowledged…well…me. He said he knew how long the fans had been waiting and that this was for us. For me, it’s been 45 years. I was a two-year-old, sitting on the floor between my father’s legs as he told me how good Tom Seaver was. 45 years is a pretty long time to wait for a no-hitter to call your own. I thought of my mom and dad and how we’d put the Mets in the forefront when it was warranted – 1969, ’73, ’85, ’86…OH yes, ’86 – and how I would have loved for them to be with me tonight. I was happy my sweet wife shared this with me. I think I may have won her over to baseball after all.

I watched Johan’s post-game interview, where he said that Terry Collins told him, “You’re my hero.” Rational people might ask how a man in his 60’s can have someone nearly half his age be his hero. Those rational people must not be baseball fans, certainly not Met fans. This was a guy who was supposed to be just getting here now. It’s been well-documented that his recovery from shoulder surgery has been lightning-quick. The work he put in, the resolve it took to put that work in, the “of COURSE I will” mindset all conspired to bring Johan and us to this moment.

And really, all that’s left to say is HOLY CRAP! It happened!


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7 comments for ““He Said I Was His Hero”

  1. Metsense
    June 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Thank you Johan. I’ve been a fan all 50 years – I can now stop hating Jimmy Qualls.

    One other observation. Isn’t it a great feeling when Johan or R.A. take the mound – you expect to win.

  2. June 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I’m just thrilled that not only did the Mets get the no-hitter monkey off their back but it was done by a HOF quality pitcher in Johan Santana. I’m not sure that fans fully appreciate how wonderful Santana’s career with the Mets has been. Maybe this will help drive that point home.

    Way to go, Johan!

  3. Chris F
    June 2, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Let’s Go Mets!

    I rewatched the game on MLB.tv all night long. I was screaming. I drifted off to sleep then at 6 am couldn’t be contained by slumber. I’m still buzzing. It was simply a magical night in Queens. Man was Johan dealing last night!!!! So happy I could witness Met history even if it was on TV. My wife was with me too and it may have gone some distance in converting her too.

    What an awesome night. Hats off to Bax for that remarkable grab. Hoping that shoulder heals fast. And Thole comes back from the DL and calls quite a game.

    Thanks Johan!!! You deserved this.


    • June 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

      I was working a Summer Collegiate baseball game last night. We had a rain delay and I was able to watch the last three innings of the game. When I got home, my wife asked if I planned to watch the Mets game tonight. It’s great when the wives are tuned in!

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