Friday, February 8, 2013

The Night of the Nohan

Today is my One-Year Blogoversary. Wednesday, February 6, 2013, was the 5-year Anniversary of the Johan Santana Contract Extension. And so, it only makes sense on this day to tell my perspective of the moment that changed all our Metsian lives.

"I know you'd like another complete game from Johan, but when you get a hard-throwing reliever like Elvin Ramirez up here, and he's been great (down on the farm) would probably like to get a look at him, see what he's got."
--Eddie C. WFAN Pre-Game Show
On the Morning of June 1st, 2012, I woke up, threw on casual Friday clothes sans jeans and packed up my Blue Dickey Throwback for a game I was to go to that evening. A seat with a view of baseball level with the field, just up the 3rd base side. The greatest theater in the world with a New York perspective. After an off-day, Baseball Metropolitan Style was back in business, and my friend in ballpark operations came through once again with his set of seats.

That night's match-up offered what looked to be a good show. The Cardinals, who the Mets always up their game against, had their ace on the mound on his way back from an injury. The Mets, who the Cardinals always up their game against, had their ace on the mound on his way back from injury. I was lucky enough to have this game be my 5th time seeing Johan pitch so far in 2012, including the start before against the Padres

What's more, arguably the greatest center fielder to ever play Mets Baseball signed with St. Louis and was making his triumphant return, hitting excellently throughout the league so far in the season. And he is backed by the guy who struck him out to end the LCS that one time. 

The irony was lost to nobody during the day. 

Finally, 5 O' Clock rolled around and I hopped out of work decked in my gear, running towards the 7 train on my way out to Flushing. 

But I had to make a stop real quick.

I had to stop by the Baseball Voodoo Gypsy's place. He happened to be out of town at the moment and he had laid the task of depositing his check onto me. I obliged, and took the circle 7 instead of the diamond. I picked up the check, visited the bank and my friend was that much less poorer. 

I texted, "Yo. Deposited, son." 

He responded with, "The hex on the Mets has been lifted!

(text 2) For the weekend." 

I rolled my eyes as I sprinted up the stairs to the train.

After transferring to the Diamond, I rolled into the Point of Willets at roughly 6:25. I was meeting my cousin, my uncle and my girlfriend, so I called everyone to check their locations. Each being nowhere near Flushing, I ventured inside to breathe the baseball air nearby, sitting in my seat in the 11th row of Section 126 waiting for that Carlos Beltran video tribute. It did not come early on, as there were little leaguers from Prospect Park, Brooklyn, parading around the warning track, decked out in Cardinals gear. That seemed to go on for quite some time, as I waited for not only that doggoneit video tribute but also the other members of my baseball viewing party. My girlfriend was on her way, bringing the camera and herself, and my cousin and uncle were on their way, ready to dash to the Shake Shack the second they got in the door. I informed my cousin I would NEVER miss baseball to be on the Shake Shack line.

The lady rung and I ran down the left field entrance stairs to hand her the ticket. She was half-jokingly mad at me for this movie she watched early in the day called, um, Moneyball. In 2011, she had asked me to see it with her. We never did and I ended up seeing it with my dad. After watching it that Friday, she couldn't believe what I had said about it 'cause she thought it was amazing (I told her it was a good movie, just not one of the best baseball movies I've ever seen.) So, couple that opinion with the fact I hadn't seen it with her and she was sure it was all circumstances that warranted a mini-scorn. Once we were in our seats, I told her, "Doesn't live baseball make up for not seeing a baseball movie with you?" "Almost," she said, nudging me as we took our seats down in our foldable chairs.

As 7:00 PM rolled around, with more fanfare walking into the park and around it than in their seats, the video for the man everyone likes to blame came on. At the end of it, I stood and applauded, with scattered people doing the same. Though not thunderous, it was a pleasant ovation for the small amount of people so far. Still, it wasn't the proper thanks Carlos Beltran deserves, and I hope 42,000 people can truly show our appreciation one day (maybe with him finishing his career here, starting in 2014.)

Then, as the crowd slightly started making their way to their seats, with some Cardinals jerseys of all shapes and sizes sprinkled throughout, that nasty curveball man made his way to the dugout from the bullpen. There was a slight buzz, but nothing major as a couple cameras captured the nemesis (and to some the hero) in time.

Then, Johan Santana and the Mets took the field, warming up for another regular season game.

Once everything felt in sync, David Wright passed the ball back off to our ace, aiming to continue his successful rehabilitation.

Baxter was ready.

Without too many people yet in their seats (or coming for that matter), the first pitch was underway.

"Well, Jim (Duquette), it's going to be pretty interesting to see if Johan Santana can kind of piggyback on that last brilliant outing that he had...Rafael Furcal leading off...a switch-hitter batting right handed against Santana. Johan from the 3rd base side of the rubber, into the wind-up...and the FIRST pitch of the game a fastball low, one ball and no strikes."
-- Howie Rose
 And with that, we were under way. Johan came back with a swinging strike and then with a called strike. Then a ball, a foul, and a ball. On a 3-2 count, Furcal hit a shallow looper to center field. Nieuwenhuis got a late start on it but the ball held up for the first out of the ball game.

Then, it was Beltran's turn.

With more people around for this ovation, and definitely more people than the rainy Jose Reyes night, the cheers echoed but the boos haunted. "Decidedly mixed," Howie Rose said in the moment (just to clarify, I did not have a radio at the game.) Still, the appreciation was prevalent throughout, even though a little muted. I stood up once more for former number 15. 

But now, it was time to get him out.

Beltran and Johan battled to a 2-2 count, but Santana came back with a "really good change-up", making Beltran look like a rookie again. 2 out.

Only Matt Holliday stood between Johan and a 1-2-3 inning. But The Duda would have to catch that ball first. Without having to go too far, Lucas settled under it and the team jog into the dugout began.

That was my cousin and uncle's cue to arrive fresh from Shake Shack. My cousin must have felt so good about his good fortunes in the form of beef, for he posed with as baller of a look as he could muster. Now, it was time for Adam Wainwright to attempt to continue his recent string of good innings.

He got the 1st two batters, Baxter and Kirk, each on the infamous curve. David Wright was able to put it in play and induce a bobble from the 2nd baseman, but unfortunately he recovered to throw our Captain out. 

0-0-0 across the board after 1.

With rain in the forecast, grey clouds above and temperatures in the low 60's, the first batter of the 2nd inning, Allen Craig, got into the ball enough to make your heart jump at the sound of the crack of the bat. A bunch of us stood and a buzz filled the air. That ball sounded and looked gone initially as it traveled to right-center. Kirk, however, followed the ball and went back, catching it along the warning track. Some kind of force knocked that ball down, because any other night, it would have been gone.

After the Cardinals almost struck first, Johan's game had its first blemishes, walking David Freese and Yadir %$&$%^& Molina. It was his first bases on balls in some time, as he did not give up a walk in his 90-pitch Padre shutout. Recently called up Matt Adams, however, could not handle the change-up, and Tyler Greene struck out as well, helping to get the Mets through the inning. Seemed like a nice friday crowd. Big early cheers echoed through the stands.

Both Adam Wainwright and Johan Santana exchanged zeros of the R, H and E variety through 3. He walked Holliday, however, to open the 4th. Though he got Craig to pop up to 1st, that World Series Hero David Freese put a charge into one to center that sounded even more blatantly like a home run bat crack. With a man on, did we just get Freesed? As a mist began to fall though, and the wind continued pushing in, the ball died once more at the track, and settled into Kirk Nieuwenhuis's glove. Molina popped up weakly to the 3rd base foul side, and the zeros remained intact.

The Mets needed to change that.

But first, a bathroom break for cousin and me.

From the 1st pitch of any game, I monitor a no-hitter. I am not rooting for one, necessarily (well...I guess we ALL are always at the beginning of a game...) but I'm into the game enough every time to know when there is one going on. I certainly knew that the Cardinals had no hits, but at this point in the middle of the 4th, I'm not over-indulging in the idea or at least trying not to, as I'm sure many others in the ballpark who noticed were attempting (I'm sorry. That's not completely true. At the end of the 3rd, I had already noticed Johan's pitch count moving up at an alarming rate. I made a note that it was probably not the night.) 

As we walked across the wide-open field level plaza towards the bathroom in the far corner of left, I looked around Citi Field and said to my cousin, "You know, this place is starting to feel like home."

"Yeah, but we need some moments in it."

He had no awareness of the current circumstances, nor did the comment register with me in the moment.  

When we got back to our seats, the Mets changed their zeros. On the 4th pitch of the at-bat and on a 1-2 count, Kirk shot the ball modestly up the middle. Furcal readied to field but the ball encountered 2nd base. Rafael was unable to make the play, and we all rejoiced at the Mets first hit of the ballgame ("Hey! How bout that?!") David Wright crushed a double to the right-center gap on the 1st pitch, sending Nieuwenhuis to 3rd. Clearly the idea now was to attack Adam early on in the count, for The Duda, on the first pitch as well, skied a fly ball to deep right-center. Not deep enough for a 3-run dinger, but deep enough to move the runners up. Kirk scored and Wright moved to 3rd.


Were in business.

Murphy continued the 1st-pitch brigade, crushing the ball into the deep right-center gap and just getting past a pursuiting Allen Craig. This spelled doom for the Cardinals chances of keeping Murph at 2nd. Wright obviously scored easily and Murph took the triple. All of a sudden, our fortunes had doubled. Ike unfortunately grounded out too hard at 2nd for any attempt to score, and Thole, in his first game back from the concussion DL, grounded out to 1st. Still, with the way the ace match-up had been shaping up, we were happy to see that number 2 on the board.

Now, it was time to see how Johan would respond as we approached an official game.

The first pitch was outside to Mike Adams.
"Johan Santana to this point has thrown (64) pitches...fastball inside ball three...
Well, Johan has talked all year about needing better command of his fastball, and he says that is just gonna come in time. And tonight's one of those nights were it hasn't been there.
 The 3-0...WAY INSIDE ball four. So, treated to a 2-run lead, and facing the bottom 3rd of the order to start the 5th inning, Johan walks the leadoff man on four pitches, and that's the 4th walk he has issued. So, the fact that the Cardinals have nothing but zeros on the board right now, no runs, no hits, no errors, don't be thinking tonight's the night, because Johan is on a pitch count that won't get much past 110."
As he had done all night so far, Santana tightened up after the base on balls.

Strikeout looking, Tyler Greene.

Strikeout swinging, Adam Wainwright.

And Mike Baxter charged in fast on a lineout.

End of the 5th inning.

Though not yet a massive buzz, certainly more of one started to percolate.

The second Baxter caught the ball, I leaned over to my cousin's ear, unable to control myself any longer. In as cliché a way to alert him without...ya know...alerting him, I muttered, "Don't look now."

Which clearly meant, "Look."

We gave each other a understanding glance.

The Mets went quiet in the bottom of the 5th, setting up for the omen that said the fates are leaning our way.

From where we were, we had a great view of the left field/3rd base line. When Beltran hit that 2nd pitch, for a split-second we all thought to ourselves, "The best center fielder we've ever had is going to ruin this for all of us, isn't he?"

Miraculously, Adrian Johnson, the 3rd base umpire, threw up his hands and pushed them towards the stands signaling, "FOOUUL BAALL!" to the relief of all of us.

Cardinals 3rd base coach Jose Oquendo immediately argued, but to no avail. The at-bat continued.

THAT was when the real buzz began.

The 2nd chance worked, and Beltran grounded weakly to 3rd. David Wright threw across the diamond keeping his former teammate off the bases.

As we looked at the foul line from our seats, you could clearly see the kicked up chalk. We all grinned a "...well..." grin at each other.

Before Matt Holliday could even begin his at-bat, Oquendo was barking up a storm over at 3rd. Eventually, Johnson was fed up, and Matheny had to come and break the rhubarb up, while giving Adrian a piece of his own mind. 

"This is getting really interesting..."

We finally got back to baseball, and a Matt Holliday strikeout.

"...whooooaaaa booooyyyyy...."

Allen Craig softly popped up to Ike in foul territory.

And the buzz heightened.

This is the point when the pitch-count conversations began to spark up. We all knew there was no way any of us would let Terry take our man out, but none of us clearly wanted his job right about now.

Kirk singled to open the bottom frame, and David Wright had an 8-pitch at-bat, ending with a walk. I made a motion with my arm signaling that The Duda was about to crank one outta right-center, but it didn't register the way I had hoped. 

"The Duda's about to make it 5-0," I said, and everyone smiled.

And then smiled even broader when I was dead-on.

Lucas crushed it deep to right-center for a 3-run home run. That pitchers duel was beginning to subside.

At that point, and I'm sure many of you felt the same way, I stopped rooting for Mets offense. When you get to the later innings and you now have more than a 3 or 4 run cushion, the only thing on your mind is that pitcher getting the job done. Though we knew how it usually went in these situations for us, and some Met fans had even been in games where the no-no was taken into at least the 6th inning, clearly that doesn't stop the fan in us from becoming nervous wrecks. 

But I was keeping my composure fairly well...fairly.

This was serious crunch time.
This was the 7th inning. 
How am I supposed to contain myself? 

"Come on, Johan!!!"

There isn't any time that a legendary Cardinal doesn't scare me half to death in a close game, let alone so deep in an attempt at the 1st no-hitter in your franchise's history. Leading off the 7th, we had to once more deal with that Freesy guy. It was apparent, however, that while Johan's pitch count was getting quite up there, he was dealing better than he had dealt all night. He was locating. And on an 0-2 count, the 4th pitch of the at-bat, a Freesy pop-fly, took Ike between the 1st base/2nd base hole. 

Now we gotta deal with that....guy.

Johan got behind Yadir 3-1. That strike was on its way, and the uneasy crowd knew it. Johan knew it. Molina knew it.

And then it happened.

Quite possibly the hardest hit ball by a Cardinal on the evening, other than the high fly balls that the wind knocked down.

This got out to left field in a hurry. So quickly, in fact, there wasn't really even a split-second to have the thought, "That Yadir ^@!$#%^% Molina is going to ruin this for all of us again, isn't he?" I only remember being so in the moment that my consciousness could only process the action without any gloom and doom.

We followed the ball and quickly turned our attention to Mike Baxter. How's his read? He's keeping it in his sights..."

This was the kind of moment I had wanted to make more of an effort throughout the year to capture in photos or videos, especially when the action is so close to me.

That was the last thing on my mind.

I hadn't picked up the camera, and then kept not picking up the camera. And then Johan kept no-hitting them, and I kept not picking up the camera.

So, the moment could only be captured in my mind.

He went back, glancing ever so perfectly over his right shoulder.  The glove found the ball to his left, and he SLAMMED as hard as I've ever seen anybody slam into the wall before (at least in person.)

This was when Citi Field went from having a buzz to full-on the loudest it's ever been up to that point.

The place erupted, which was soon replaced by a "Is he ok?" nervous applause. Baxter was on the ground, and the place started collectively conversing about what exactly happened to him. As he laid on the ground for a minute and his teammates and trainers and coach ran out there, a "Let's Go Baxter!" chant was born out of the loud hum.

Terry signaled for a replacement, and Andres Torres ran to the outfield.

Finally Baxter got up, and we all stood and applauded as loud as we could as trainer Ray Ramirez walked him in from left.

What a long walk that was, but gave us ample time to show our native son how we felt about him.

It brings a knot to my throat just thinking about it.

So, Baxter was soon in the dugout, Nieuwenhuis had moved to left and Torres was now in center.

And luckily, the next pitch wasn't crushed into the stands.

Johan, which I think was very much deliberate, threw a change-up or slider inside Mike Adams, in no way a hittable pitch. The moment settled down and we got back to the task at hand.

With the next 2 pitches outside, however, it seemed Johan was a little shaken up. With his pitch count at 105, there was a Bobby Parnell sighting in the bullpen. 

Fortunately, his 106th pitch was a called strike.

On the 107th pitch of the night, Mike Adams grounded to 1st, and Ike took it himself.

We. Were. Pumped. Up.

But now it was time to yell at Terry Collins.

Johan was due up 2nd in the inning, and I wanted to make sure he wasn't about to do what we all hoped he wasn't going to do.

"Don't you do it, Terry!!! Don't you do it!!! Come on!!!!.....

We didn't see him emerge immediately, but we didn't see a pinch-hitter on his way either.

"...YEAH!!! YEAH!!! THAT'S RIGHT!!!!!"

Johan had emerged from the dugout wearing his helmet and carrying his bat. 

We cheered as loud as we could.

Omar Quintanilla, having been called up in place of an injured Ruben Tejada (and Ronny Cedeno), was up first in the inning, and kept his good luck going with a ball up the middle Furcal couldn't quite handle.

That's cool and all, Omar, but seriously. Let's go.

We stood, we applauded, and we waited for the bunt.

An absolute beauty, but the out counted more.

Even though in the moment I wanted this to move on, get to the 8th and get 1 out at a time, this was the final scoring inning for the New York Mets. 3 runs were scored, bringing the total to 8 for the evening. They were had in the most "That's great, but SERIOUSLY??!!!!? COME ON!!!!! kind of way: Torres walk. Rookie Pitcher debut. Nieuwenhuis walk, David Wright walk. 

"Seriously, cool and all, but throw strikes."

After The Duda struck out, Murph singled in the last two runs, bringing Ike up to bat.

He grounded softly to 3rd and the inning was over.

"Sorry, Ike, but thanks."

And so, my God could we sniff it. I personally had never been 6 outs away from my first no-hitter witnessed, let alone the first Mets No-No ever. And unless other fans in attendance were at Tom Seaver's imperfection, or Tom Glavine, or John Miane, or others, most of the 29,000 could say the same. And you could certainly hear it in all of our voices. This is when Citi Field started to shake. This was the most awesome Citi Field had EASILY ever been. But this good feeling needs to continue.

Man, am I a nervous wreck at this point...

...But a focused nervous.

Johan's 1st pitch was popped up by Tyler Greene, quite the blessing for someone with so many pitches. Omar Quintanilla went back on the ball. Kirk came in for the ball. In what appeared to be an absolute disaster in the making, the two almost collided with Kirk making the catch. Though it looked as if Omar wanted to make sure if Kirk couldn't get there he would have it, watching it unfold squeezed your heart till the blood was gone. Even though it would have probably be an error, still a tremble-inducing sight. 

But we had survived.

Pinch-hitter Shane Robinson, on an 1-2 count (with the 2-strike cheer as loud as it's ever been in that former Shea Parking Lot) received an up-and-in fastball he claimed clipped his fingers. He started walking down to 1st, but the home plate umpire would have none of it. Johan shook his head, "No." Mike Matheny came out to argue but of course that didn't matter. (watching the video now, I see Robinson clearly stuck his hand out over the plate, and the umpire might have been claiming he made no effort to get out of the way.)

Restart the\at 2-strike cheer.

...Aaand that's a change-up looking. 2 out in the 8th.

Once again louder than ever before.

113 pitches.

"Johan (clap-clap) Johan (clap-clap)" started up around the crowd.

But the next batter was the 5th walk of his night. We moaned real quick, and then saw Terry run out to the man. Boos ensued, but clearly based on his speed to the mound and no bullpen signal, he just wanted to check in. As Collins slapped him on the chest and ran back to the dugout, we cheered in appreciation for the man who was easily one of the more stressed out people in the building. 

It's so close. And he knows it.

But man, that wiry little guy's blood pressure must have been through the charts!!!

Time to get back to business.

"Remember what I said earlier?" my cousin had reminded me of by now.

"Johan (clap-clap) Johan (clap-clap.)"

118 pitches.

And there's that Carlos guy.

Strike, inside at the knees.

"Johan (clap-clap) Johan (clap-clap.)"

Badly fooled by the change-up. 0-2.

"Johan (clap-clap) Johan (clap-clap.)"

2-strike clap...loudest in Citi Field History...

Inside at the hands. (more moans)

Start it back up.

Here it comes...

A little front of second base...Quintanilla going for it...MURPH PICKS HIM OFF AND WE ARE THROUGH 8!!!

NOW, the loudest Citi Field has ever been.

And that was only the 8th...

Regardless how this ended, Johan would be the first Mets pitcher to take a no-hitter into the 9th since Tom Seaver.

Alright, Mets batters. You're gonna dog it here, right?

Thole certainly was ready to finish catching that thing, and thankfully struck out swinging. But Omar Quintanilla basically answered, "Hell no! I'm trying to keep this job!" And worked a 9-pitch at-bat, culminating in the 8th hit of the night. ("heh...there are 8 hits too...")

Before Omar got that hit, Johan Santana emerged from the dugout wearing his helmet and carrying his bat. He looked as focused as anybody I've ever seen. During Omar's crazy at-bat, he just squatted in the on-deck circle with his bat on his left shoulder.

In. The. Zone.

So in the zone, after we erupted on his way to the batter's box with cheers and "Johan" chants, the bat stayed on his shoulder and he struck out looking...after a 3-2 count. ("Seriously?" he must have said to Yadir.)

Torres was next up, and in the fashion we had wanted the entire inning, he made an out on one pitch.

It was time.

...But I certainly wasn't going to get that camera out.

As all the Mets jogged out to their places, I was as anxious as I've ever been in my entire life. You see other people around us with the same anxiety but with smiles on their faces.

I wasn't there yet. I was as into cheering as I've ever been, but I couldn't enjoy the moment until Howie Rose's No-No-hitter Countup didn't exist anymore.

And again, I wasn't taking that camera out.

My girlfriend, though, was fidgeting for it.

I glanced over to her quickly, then glanced back at the field.

"That's fine," I said through the nerves.

That was pretty big of me...

OhmyGodthat'sscreamingblooper, TorreshasitTorreshasitTORRESHASIT!!!"


OhmyGodthat'sscreamingblooper, KirkhasgotitKirkhasgotitKIRKHASGOTIT!!!"

And there it was. 

All of a sudden...

He was at 128 pitches.

We were 1 out away.

(For those already at the site watching this, Thank You)

Much to everyone's delight, Elvin Ramirez did not make it into the game.

"Would you say this makes up for not watching Moneyball with you?"
She laughed. "Yeah. I would say so."


At this point as you continue reading, if you haven't watched the video above...

Go back.

In the frenzy of the moment, we were not able to capture "Gary Carter" joining the pile before being thrown to ground by security. With 8 runs and 8 hits, and now the visual of a Gary Carter jersey forever in the Nohan images, do I believe there is something to all that?

I like to think so.

We lingered like everybody else. Clicking away, waiting to see Nohan again, soaking up the best moment so far in a very young ballpark. Nobody wanted to leave, we just wanted to scream at each other and jump on each other and soak up everything Metropolitan.

Our instincts took us through the Mets Hall of Fame on our way out. It only seemed right. I'm sure they're putting something in there  to commemorate the awesomeness this season. It is only fitting that it be next to Gil Hodges' jersey, the only World Series trophy with a Seattle Pilots Pennant, the statuette of Casey Stengel. Even more poetic to forever be linked with the 50th Anniversary patch.

The Baseball Gypsy texted me, "You're welcome!"


When I got home later that night, I sat down and wrote the 1st draft of the first 5 paragraphs of this post. And then I stopped. And opened another window. 

As I write this now, I would rather paste my initial reaction than link it for you:

Yeah...THAT Just Happened

So many people have had so many things to say about the events that have unfolded in the New York Mets universe the last 12 hours. The thrill is so grand that I want to keep it going. To have witnessed that live is one of the greatest feelings I have ever had as a human being.

(Yo, Ballpark operator friend from Camp: Serious props on the hook-up for tickets to this game. I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH. This experience is mind-blowing. Thanks, man.)

So much more has to be written to tell my very own story of the night of the Nohan, but on this Saturday morning, after the greatest pitched game in New York Metropolitan history, the only thing I can say is thanks. Thanks to all those players out there on this unbelievable squad for making it possible to see for myself the First No-Hitter in Mets History. I have been to many games in my lifetime. World Series games, playoff games, heavy-handed regular season games, but this tops all of them. Never had I seen a no-hitter, or really gotten one that far passed the 7th inning, I think (LET ALONE THE 1ST NO-HITTER IN METS HISTORY!!!) This is easily, up to this point, the greatest single game I have ever been to. And I have nobody else to thank other than the people I shared it with and the 2012 New York Mets. I can believe in anything now.

Ya Gotta Believe has never been more on.


The Mets had an unbelievable weekend of pitching and winning. R.A. followed up the Nohan with a complete-game shutout of his own, then Jon Niese continued with 7 shutout innings in the Black for John Franco Induction Night. Friday, Saturday and Sunday had us charging forward with what felt like all the momentum in the world.

And then, we just barely lost to the Cardinals Monday afternoon.

Me: "Yo. Deposited, son." 
Gypsy: "The hex on the Mets has been lifted! 
(text 2) For the weekend."

You have GOT 

to be kidding me...

A month or two after, my cousin and I were at a bar when we ran into a Yankee Fan friend of mine. We were talkin' baseball and somehow the Nohan came up. At a point, he said, "...Yeah, but let's be honest. It wasn't really a no-hitter."

"Of course it was. That's the way baseball works."

"I'm sure all 27 of those are legitimate," my cousin sarcastically replied.

To those who say it's just another Mets 1-hitter, well here's what I have to say: For many years, the Mets no-hitter WAS the 1-hitter, where breaks did not go our way. NOW, a break went our way, leading to a zero in the hits column at the end of the game for the first time ever. The exclamation we felt at the end there was as much as any no-hitter exclamation ever felt. WE EXPERIENCED THAT. And nobody can ever take that away from us. Plus, I LOVE that element of it. I love that it was Beltran. Johan still had to get no hits from there on out, INCLUDING Beltran again. He took advantage of an opportunity, and it presented itself as the most memorable baseball game of my lifetime.

My uncle, who is in his 70's, was originally a Giants fan growing up in Brooklyn, and became a Mets fan like many young men of the time with National League roots.

After 50 years of Mets fandom, you're telling me he didn't just witness that?

So, Yankee fans, or anybody for that matter: Don't say to us we didn't witness a real No-Hitter. We would never say to you that you didn't win a real championship in 1996.

Lots of things have changed since The Night of the Nohan. 

The Mets collapsed, Johan's fatigue a very big reason (and however you interpret its relationship to June 1.) 

I lost my job...

...And no longer live in Astoria.

The Mayan Calendar thing came and went.

(Though 2012 DID have some fucked up shit.)

And my RA Dickey Throwback...

is now a Throwback.

But every time I think about the Nohan, it's a very inspiring thought.

The Nohan shows how anything can happen with hard work, determination and focus.

And is a constant reminder of life's unpredictability.

We've reached the future.

We're making up words like "blogoversary" 
and phrases like "viral retweet."

And a Mets No-Hitter exists in it.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who have read my work over the last year. I could have never expected to get this involved in the Mets Blogging world before I began, but I am so happy that I have. I've had the time of my life here and at Rising Apple, and I am grateful for all the wonderful Metsians I've met in this here Metsosphere. And, of course, to all those non-Mets fans that just enjoy the work I do.

Thank you.

I appreciate each and every one of you, and I look forward to all of us as a collective reaching new horizons this year.

(This internet thing is crazy, huh?)

For all those who say the Mets are DOOMED in 2013...

I would like to see the articles you wrote last spring predicting a Mets No-hitter.


The most beautiful Citi Field has ever looked.

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1 comment:

  1. I, too, was there that magical Friday night, June 1, 2012, as I loved seeing Johan Santana do his thing. Leaving right after work, I bought my ticket at the empty ticket window at Citi Field, thoroughly anticipating a great pitching matchup of Johan v. Adam Wainwright. You can't plan for something like this; you just have to be in the right place at the right time. When it started drizzling midway through the game, I thought, oh no, I want this to go all the way because everyone will say that if the Mets played the full nine innings, the no-no never would've happened. As the last inning was underway, as I glanced around the ballpark, soaking it all in, I thought to myself, "I hope this isn't the last time I see Johan pitch in person." Sadly, it was. But after being a Mets fan for soooo long (since July 1970), I felt it was only fitting, after 8,020 games, I was there to see my favorite pitcher make history. I cried that night, realizing all the rehab Johan went through, not knowing whether he'd ever be close to the dominant ace he was before. What a magical night it was, for Johan, for the Mets, for the fans. Just awesome! And it was very fitting that Johan Santana was the one who pitched the Mets first no-hitter. If it couldn't be Tom Seaver or Dwight Gooden, it was only fitting it was Johan.