Atop each and every Mets-related news feed the past couple of weeks was undoubtedly the R.A. Dickey trade saga. Ever since his out-of-nowhere emergence three years ago, the knuckleballer has become a fan favorite. The feel-good story of his struggle to persevere in the big league, the mesmerizing movement on his pitches, and the class act that he is off the field, Dickey has certainly earned his place in the hearts of Mets fans.
It was tough to see him go. It's never easy for a fanbase to say goodbye to their ace, no matter how much sense the trade made from a baseball standpoint. More than a few Dickey fans were devastated.
I, for one, wasn't bothered by the trade at all. Although I love watching Dickey pitch as much as the next Mets fan, seeing him leave was not that hard for me since he doesn't have an emotional tie with me like I do with this other pitcher on the Mets roster.
Ever since I became a Mets fan in 2007, I've had plenty of "favorite" players: Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Maine, and most recently Ike. But my "most favorite" has to be Santana. I began following the Mets since 2007, but it wasn't until 2008 when my parents finally agreed to purchase MLB.tv for me did I get the chance to watch them play on a regular basis. And the first game I watched was Opening Day of 2008, when Santana pitched the Mets to a 7-2 victory over the Marlins.
No.57 became my hero ever since.
As some of you might have known, I'm from Vietnam, whose timezone is 12-hour different from New York's. As a result, most games were played when I was at school; and I had to settle for MLB.tv re-runs when I got home. On days that Santana pitched, I skipped.
Fortunately for me, the majority of the MLB season is played in the summer.
Again, while Dickey deserved every bit of the attention he's garnered, lost in his Cy Young campaign and the subsequent offseason trade rumors was something that none other Met has done in the history of the franchise: pitching a no-hitter.
Seaver came close but never did it; Koosman and Doc never did it; neither did Cone and Darling. No one managed the feat through 8019 games spanning 50 seasons.
On June. 1, 2012 against the defending World Series champs St. Louis Cardinals, Santana did.
As a Mets fan, I was happy that Dickey had such a successful season. But as a big Santana fan, I was admittedly a bit ticked-off to see the historic feat that he achieved get overlooked.
If you look at my username, you can see that I'm a Suns fan. This past summer, when I first learned that the team had traded Nash away, I cried, inside and out. No. 13 was the lone reason why I started watching basketball and cheering for the Suns back in 2005. I'm still a Suns fan even though Nash is gone; but it will never be the same without him running the point.
Apart from the team he's traded to, the move made perfect sense for the rebuilding Suns from a basketball standpoint. But rationality was far from enough to contain my emotion. And I'm afraid the same thing will happen to me the day Johan officially stops wearing orange and blue.
I'm not looking forward to it. Not at all. But for now, I'm cherishing the fact that my all-time favorite Met is still on the roster and in line to pitch on Opening Day.
(Note to self: I should have read CajoleJuice's post before writing this...)