So I pick up Trent at about the 6th inning of the Mets-Cardinals game and we’re listening to the game in the car. Trent and I already talked and agreed that there was obviously no point in going to the game if Santana had given up a hit (especially because I had tickets on Sunday and Monday). Since this had never happened in the history of the Mets, there was definitely part of me that was skeptical. I was also really surprised that Citi Field had closed all of the lots and would not let us enter so late, it was almost as if they were saying. “Screw You Box, this wasn’t important enough for you to actually come to the game, you can’t just enter now and witness history. ” Thus Trent and I parked many blocks away from the stadium and took a cab. Ole cabbie was nice enough to put the game on the radio just in time for us to hear Mike Baxter’s amazing catch. (I had heard about Baxter years earlier because my GF at the time, Leslie’s brother had decided to go to Arch Bischop Molloy High School after hearing about Baxter’s success on their baseball team.) I wanna say upon hearing this amazing catch that myself, Trent and the cabbie all cheered and embraced but the truth is I pumped my fists and read a text from Barns that there was no way Santana was staying in this game due to his pitch count. I immediately remembered how my Yankees got no hit years ago by 7 pitchers and after two days nobody cared. I envisioned the back of the post the next day…SANTANA THROWS FIRST METS NO HITTER* *-Parnell throws 8th and Francisco throws 9th…yuck! Santana had to stay in there until his arm fell off, this was too big to tarnish!
Finally Trent and I arrive at the stadium towards the top of the 7th inning but by the time I hobbled all the way to the ticket window…it was closed! Thus, I said oh well, counted my losses and headed home, missing history even though it was so close….
OK at some point I’ll get into my avoid excuses mentality and even though I haven’t yet let me assure you there was no way Trent and I were going to accept not getting into this stadium. We continued to speak to every single security guard, supervisor, people leaving the stadium (I kid you not with not hits allowed over 7, people were leaving to beat the traffic including one guy who had to leave because his “baby mama” insisted they leave, I joked with Trent that the young lady had better have had lady parts made of candy to agree to leave now). Alas we got to the bullpen area of the stadium and told the supervisor there we were going to pay 10 bucks each for student tickets and he said we could stand outside the stadium, watch the TV and listen to the crowd. I bargained with the wise ass and asked what if he had let us stand on the boardwalk and we would agee not to sit down…HE AGREED!
So now as we stood on the boardwalk right in the center of citi field I had never witnessed a bigger groan into a cheer ever then when Terry Collins came out to let Johan know he was staying in after the initial fear that he was coming out. From here, there was one inning left and suddenly I started thinking about all of the times I would come into my sixth grade class and make fun of Dafe for being a Mets fan. I used to as a kid root against the Mets just to see them lose so I can come in a rub it in Dafe’s face the next day as the Yankees won world series after World Series. I started to ponder if I really wanted this no hitter to happen. The cynical Yankee fan inside was rising and I started to hope Johan would give up a hit just to see air deflate out of a metaphorical balloon-like stadium quicker then ever before. In the end though the cynic in me was washed away by remembering all that we had gone through to get to these last two innings and how redic we’d look if in the end he gave up one hit.
I’m sure all of you know at this point that Johan Santa did get that movie like ending to his crazy journey back to the majors after a year off last year, pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history. As for me, I was elated! I had finally gotten to see that first Mets no hitter on a rare Friday night in which nothing was going on. So many pieces had to fall in place for me to be in attendance (Trent suggesting we come in the middle of the game, us finding a cabbie to drive us back and the security guard agreeing to let us stand on the boardwalk) and for all of this to even occur (the blown Beltran call, Collins letting him pitch on, Baxter’s catch). It truly was a remarkable evening and easily the greatest sports moment I have seen live.
When the game ended it was like nothing I’ve ever seen. People running all over the place in excitement mobbing reporters, cameramen and souvenier vendors alike, it really was like something out of a movie. Looking back, it’s truly remarkable that this ended up being Johan Santana when it could have been somebody random like a John Maine years ago. Instead, Johan will live in Mets infamy forever and with everything he has been through, it couldn’t have happened to a better guy by all accounts. No, let’s be honest, the Mets probably won’t make the playoffs this year. Heck, my Yankees might end up hoisting another trophy over their heads, but on this night, June the 1st 2012…the enitre sports world belonged to Flushing, Queens!