This is probably the first FanPost I have ever done that was not actually based on a slew of facts, figures, statistics, and/or the like. Let's face it - not everything of importance can be explained by mere facts, details or graphics. Interestingly, when we focus on that which is of greater importance than anything else, it's the experiences that we go through and share together - the most important things in life are those that make us human. And, on that note, what I saw tonight was truly remarkable; as for being human, Johan Santana seemed anything but.
It just so happened that I had a bit of a long day, and decided to rest for a bit. When I woke up at around 9:40 pm or so, my first instinct was to turn on the TV and watch the Mets game. And, I will say this: I'm so glad that I did. As soon as I turned on that TV, I saw a depiction of the scoreboard, with the "0 0 0" on display. I was a bit excited, but not greatly so.
As Mets fans of age will tell you, there have been several occasions whence a no-hitter into the eighth or ninth inning was broken up by a hit, in heartbreaking fashion. Three times as a Met in his career, Tom Seaver entered the ninth inning with a no-hitter intact; in true Mets fashion, that of tough luck and undue credit, they have been broken up. If any Met in franchise history ought to have pitched a no-hitter, Tom Seaver was that guy. He is undoubtedly the greatest player in the history of our franchise, and as the only hall-of-famer inducted as a Met, he also entered the hall of fame with the highest percentage of votes of anyone. However, thanks to one particular person I shall not name, Tom Seaver was deprived of his chance to pitch a no-hitter for the Mets, having pitched two of them for other franchises in strange uniforms. I'm quite sure that if he had it his way, he would've done it as a Met, in a Mets uniform.
But tonight was different. After seeing those three zeros, I realized that it was the 9th inning. All of a sudden, the enormity of the occasion shook me and had me hyperventilating. I watched in eager anticipation, but with an equally gut-wrenching sense of foreboding. We, as Mets fans have suffered a lot, in the hands of fate. We have been conditioned to pessimism, and the disparaging of the positives. Sure, dreams are great, but what are they worth if they don't come true? Well, after 18,314 days (50 years, 1 month, 21 days) and 8,019 games in franchise history, we have finally been able to put all that to the side, for one particular occasion. After a nerve-racking Kirk Nieuwenhuis play, I breathed a sigh of relief, and yet, I cursed at the possibility of having this event broken up yet again. But... that moment, which seemed inevitable, never came.
When it finally happened, I was shocked and surprised at what I had just saw. I experienced it, and yet, I could not fathom the magnitude of what I just saw. It's one of those things that makes you wonder "Is this real? Did this really just happen?" Even though we all know what we just saw, and it is something we have been waiting for seemingly forever, it's just one of those things that, counterintuitively, is actually difficult to appreciate in its entirety. In fact, the enormity of this moment hasn't struck me until I was in the middle of writing this. And then, I cried tears of joy.
Perhaps, besides the fact that we are no longer one of two franchises to have never recorded a no-hitter, the sweetest thing about this is that we did it against the St. Louis Cardinals, with opposing starter Adam Wainwright on the mound. They have dealt us a great deal of pain in the 2006 NLCS. Perhaps ironically, just as Beltran struck out for the final at-bat in that game for us, this game was his first as a Cardinal in which he has faced us. Sometimes, the grass does look greener on the other side. And if not for the generosity of Adrian Johnson, Beltran could've easily spoiled this occasion for us, though not by a great deal, in stark contrast.
Savor the moment, Mets fans. You deserve it. Be appreciative of what you have experienced and/or what you have now in your possession. Don't be a Debbie Downer. Because as far as elusive pursuits go, our time has finally come.
Games without a no-hitter: