Bumped from FanPosts — Chris
The Mets are laughingstocks. Well, in the first couple of years they were, anyway. They sure played like it. Winning 40 games and losing 120 in 1962. Losing in every manner possible, and then seemingly inventing new ones. To the fans, though, it didn't matter. So distraught by the sudden loss of both the Dodgers and the Giants, the Mets could have gone 0 and 160 and the fans would have still come out in droves, and would have still been cheering for their Metsies. By the end of the decade, those lovable losers grew up, and in 1969, a miracle happened.
Like real people, maturation comes with all kinds of responsibilities. A chubby three-year-old who crawls up on the pantry shelf to grab the cookie jar and falls down bumping his head, there's some degree of cuteness to that. A chubby six-year-old who crawls up on the pantry shelf to crab the cookie jar and falls down bumping his head, he should know better. The Mets do horribly before 1969, it's cute. The Mets do horribly after 1969, it's no longer cute.
Over the years, the Mets certainly have done horrible. And, the organization has done some horrible things. We're in the middle (perhaps it's tailing off now?) of one of those phases right now. With the collapses in 2007 and 2008, the very bad 2009 and 2010 teams, and the various gaffes and hijinxes of the front office and ownership, there's been plenty of fodder for shake your head Mets stories. With the echo chamber that the internet and 24/7 sports channels become, stories about the Mets being bad, or the organization doing stupid things have morphed into something new entirely: the LOLMets narrative.
We're all familiar with LOLMets, but for those who aren't: LOL, the Mets can't do anything right. Remember when the team made a visit to Walter Reed , and the big hubbub was that a few players didn't show up? LOLMets. It's not like a team has ever visited a veteran's medical center and not have players show up before. Remember when Jose Reyes come out of the game to protect his lead in the 2011 batting title race? It's not like that has ever happened before. Or, how about the time the GM accused a star player of getting unauthorized surgery that he needed.
It's not like that doesn't happen from time to time.
I'm sure there's a bunch of other examples, but the LOLMets narrative is not the main point of this FanPost. It, along with the actual, legitimate troubles that the Mets have had, on and off the field, have fostered an environment among both fans and sports pundits where the Mets are supposed to do stupid/bad things. When they don't, when something legitimately good happens, it wasn't supposed to. The Mets aren't supposed to have nice things.
Case in point,
Or maybe most egregiously, this,
Because they're the Mets, the no-hitter than Johan Santana threw really isn't a no-hitter. Because there was a bit of controversy, Johan Santana's no-hitter really doesn't count as a no-hitter. It's not as if this is the first time that there has been controversy in a no-hit bid before...
Saint Louis, Missouri, April 1931...
- They say shaky defense up the middle loses ballgames, but in Wes Ferrell's case, they keep no-hitters. Against the very first batter, shortstop Bill Hunnefield botched a play, a routine grounder hit towards him, and as the game progressed, things didn't get better. In the 8th inning, with Ferrell well on his way to attaining baseball notoriety, St. Louis Browns catcher Rick Ferrell- Wes' brother!- hit a shot to his brother's right. Hunnefield ranged to his side and was able to catch the ball as it got past the third baseman, but was unable to get the slow-footed runner out, as the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Lew Fonseca, the first baseman, had no trouble catching the ball- it just arrived too late, and pulled him off the bag. Inexplicably, the official scorer ruled the somewhat routine play an error, preserving Ferrell's no-hit bid. As an addendum, the very next play led to another Bill Hunnefield fielding error, his third in the game. Ferrell got out of the jam in the 8th, and completed the no hitter, with a little help of course.
Bronx, New York, October 1956...
- The only perfect game to ever be thrown in the World Series, Don Larsen wasn't exactly perfect that fateful afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Seemingly, like all other no-hitters, an excellent play in the outfield kept the bid in tact, and ramped up the tension. Coming into the 9th inning, Larsen was still perfect, not allowing a single base runner. With two outs, manager Walt Alston elected to pinch hit for pitcher Sal Maglie, and Dale Mitchell came up to the plate. With two strikes, Larson ended the game on a punch out. But, in reality, the pitch was outside. Very outside. Mitchell clearly checked his swing and didn't go around. He was called out nonetheless, and Larsen had his perfect game.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 1970...
- Bill Singer allowed only a single base runner through seven innings, via a hit by pitch. In the 8th, Phillies third baseman Don Money hit a squibbler down the third base line, a la Jimmy Qualls and Paul Hoover. Singer ran over to field it himself, and desperately fired to first. The fleet footed Money would have beaten the throw, even if Singer's throw hadn't been off target and pulled Wes Parker off of first. The play was ruled an error, however. Singer got through the 8th and 9th, successfully spinning a no-hitter.
San Francisco, California, August 1975...
- The Mets played a doubleheader against the Giants that day. The second game ended with the Mets being on the receiving end of a no-hitter, thrown by Ed Halicki. Halicki struck out ten batters and walked two, while allowing no hits over the course of the night, but ran into some controversy in the 5th inning. Rusty Staub hit a comebacker right up the middle that hit Halicki himself and bounced off of his leg and rolled towards second base. The Giants second baseman, Derrel Thomas recovered the ball and fired it to first. Staub beat out the throw. Moments later, the play was controversially ruled the play an error on Thomas, preserving the no-hit bid.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 1978...
- Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch had allowed only two walks, one in the 5th and one in the 7th as he took the mound in the 8th. Phillies centerfielder Garry Maddox led off the inning with a hopper down the line that Ken Reitz looked like he was going to snag. But, the otherwise defensively proficient Reitz simply missed the ball. As he reached out, he missed and the ball got past him. Though Reitz never actually got his hands on the ball, it was somehow ruled an error. Forsch erased the base runner with a double play, and finished the inning, and the 9th without allowing a(nother) hit.
Chicago, Illinois, August 1991...
- In his last year with the Kansas City Royals, soon-to-be Met Brett Saberhagen was shutting the White Sox down in a game that would eventually see him walk two and strike out five in a 7-0 rout. With one out in the 5th, Dan Pasqua hit a line drive to left field that Kirk Gibson got a late jump on. As he ran to track it down, he stuck his glove out, but was too far to catch it. Instead, it just nicked off his glove and rolled to the wall, allowing Pasqua to reach second. The official scorer ruled the play an error, despite the fact that is was almost painfully clearly a hit, that Gibson simply wasn't there and that he didn't make an error. Saberhagen worked out of that jam, and finished the game without allowing a hit, entering into the no-hit club.
Chicago, Illinois, April 2011...
- Brad Penny was cruising along, with six innings under his belt. One out, and Brent Morel stepped to the plate. The ball came Brendon Inge's way, and he scooped up the ball, throwing it off-balance to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera couldn't handle the throw, and Morel got on base. The ruling? A hit. It was anything but a clear call, however, the official scorer could have just as easily ruled it an error. Penny finished up the inning without allowing any hits, and was pulled from the game with seven scoreless, "one-hit" innings under his belt, but had the official scorer ruled differently, who knows what could have happened that afternoon.
There are others, I am sure. Researching, I can't find anything that casts doubt on the majority of those potential or errant no-hitters, particularly the earlier ones. Other than discussions on websites here and there saying that so-and-so didn't get the call correct for whatever reason (and who listens to guys in their mother's basements, anyway?), I couldn't find anything casting doubt or claiming any of these no-hitters were illegitimate. No newspaper covers with asterisks. No reporters saying that those no-hitters didn't count, or were somehow otherwise tainted. Nothing, zip, nada.
LOLMets, they can't do anything right; they don't deserve it. LOLMets, this team can't do anything right, we don't deserve it. At the end of the day, do the replays show that the umpire got the call wrong, and that the ball landed on the tip of the line, meaning it would have been a hit? Yes, it does indeed. The umpire ruled the play a foul ball, however, and as such, in the record books, that play was a foul ball. The instant replay doesn't determine fair-and-foul balls down the line; the umpire does, and will continue until the MLB allows instant replay to determine these things. Until then, all it is is a backseat driver saying what you should of done one thing while you did something else; a soccer mom screaming what the referee should have ruled while decides to rule something else. If you don't want to accept that, and want to say that Johan Santana's no-hitter will always have an asterisk attached next to it, that logic can't be applied parsimoniously. Player records should be examined and amended to account for blown calls. Team record should be examined to account for blown calls. Hell, World Series champions might have their championships asterisked because of blown calls (The St. Louis Cardinals lost the 1985 World Series because of a blown call at 1st by umpire Don Dekinger, and the 2003 Cubs lost their shot to get there because of the blown 'Steve Bartman catch' by left field umpire Mike Everitt)! Hey, media, you'll be right on that, right?
(Because this will never, ever get old)