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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