Faux-No? Johan Santana Makes History With Mets First No-Hitter Despite Questionable Call, Jorted Mets Fan Joins Party on Field

Faux-No? Johan Santana Makes History With Mets First No-Hitter Despite Questionable Call, Jorted Mets Fan Joins Party on Field

Johan Santana pitched an amazing game for the New York Mets last night. One hundred thirty-seven pitches, zero credited hits. For the first time in more than 8,000 games over 51 years as a franchise, the Mets achieved what Roy Halladay did twice in 2010—left the field with a no-hitter.
Only… there may have been a hit—just not one that will appear on any scorecards. In the sixth inning, former Met Carlos Beltran laced a liner over third base, a ball that appeared to fall on the outer edge of the left field foul line.Your browser does not support iframes.
Replays and the ball's apparent mark in the chalk made it appear to be the the wrong call. But please don't misunderstand this as complaining. First, that's a tough call for third base ump Adrian Johnson, with the ball coming right at him and kicking hard into foul territory after narrowly hitting the white line (arrow in figure at above right, and 0:26 of the video). It may have been simultaneously the best and worst vantage from which to make the call, and Johnson appeared to botch it before arguing with the Cardinals manager and third base coach. Phillies fans may remember a similar scene between Charlie Manuel and Johnson, remembered by Sam Borden of the NYTimes here
But also, the whole thing is an amusing twist to the Mets' first no-no. Instead of merely losing the whole "Mets don't have a no-hitter" line, we now have "Their only no-hitter wasn't really a no-hitter." The entire celebration comes with an asterisk—though it should still be celebrated.  
The human element giveth, and it taketh away. Armando Galarraga has to be feeling the pain all over again this morning. Galarraga is of course the Detroit Tigers pitcher who lost a perfect game bid to the other side of the human element blade. Umpire Jim Joyce's terrible call at first base with two outs in the ninth saw the pitcher's name disappear from the record books like Marty McFly's brother from his Kodak print, though certainly not from recorded history.  
The faux-no also came with one of our favorite Mets fan stereotypes here on The700Level—a misbehaving Mets fan wearing jorts. Picture of the fan with video of the last pitch and celebration below. 

Your browser does not support iframes.Aside from wearing jeans that end nearly two feet higher than they should, this guy's night had to be kind of awesome (prior to the holding cell stage).
Dude ran onto the field as soon as the final out was recorded and got in the middle of the Mets' leaping pile before being peeled off by security and rag-dolled to the ground. 
A bit selfish to steal from the occasion for your own personal glory? Absolutely. But some dumb beer commercial maker's probably gonna owe this guy royalties. 
Perhaps the most outstanding moment, even considering the chalk-kicking Beltran hit, was when Mets outfielder Mike Baxter made a self-sacrificing catch, crashing hard into the wall and ground to preserve Johan's bid in the seventh inning. Credit the kid from Queens for leaving it all on the field to preserve the historic night for his club. 
Yep, it still counts as historic. An outstanding effort by a tremendous pitcher, well supported by the team behind him and yes, probably a botched call. All part of the game, at least for now... 

Phils lose LHP in Rule 5 draft, exit winter meetings balancing present with future

Phils lose LHP in Rule 5 draft, exit winter meetings balancing present with future

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The winter meetings ended Thursday morning with the Phillies sitting out the Rule 5 draft. The Phillies’ roster was at the 40-man limit and that prohibited the team from making a pick.

The Phils did lose one player in the draft as reliever Hoby Milner was selected by the Cleveland Indians. 

Milner, who turns 26 in January, is a left-hander who recently switched to a side-arm delivery. He had a 2.49 ERA in 49 games at Double A and Triple A in 2016.

Milner was eligible for the draft because he was not protected on the 40-man roster last month. The Indians selected him for $50,000. He must stay in the big leagues all season or be offered back to the Phillies for $25,000.

Andrew Pullin was a player the Phillies feared losing, but they hung on to the lefty-hitting outfielder. Pullin, 23, hit .322 with a .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016. A late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League and factored into the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

The Phillies selected one player, infielder Jorge Flores, in the minor-league phase of the draft. Flores had been in the Toronto system.

The Phils lost one player, 25-year-old pitcher Jairo Munoz, to Tampa Bay in the minor-league phase. Munoz pitched in the low minors in 2016.

With the winter meetings behind them, Phillies officials will head back to Citizens Bank Park to complete the construction of their 2017 roster. So far this winter, the Phils have re-signed starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and added outfielder Howie Kendrick and relievers Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and David Rollins.

Remaining on the Phillies’ to-do list is adding a backup infielder – Andres Blanco could return – and deciding whether to pursue a veteran hitter to play a corner outfield spot or give an opportunity to a young tandem such as Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr. 

General manager Matt Klentak spoke often during the week about that balance he is trying to strike between improving the 2017 club while keeping intact long-range goals.

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside – that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

Time will tell which way the Phillies go on this matter. 

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

There were just two things on Paul Turner’s mind as he sprinted across the field early during the third quarter on Sunday, anticipating his first career NFL catch. 

Turner relayed them on Wednesday: 

1. “Make sure you get in [Carson Wentz’s] vision.” 

2. “You better catch this ball.” 

He did both. 

Turner, the 23-year-old undrafted receiver from Louisiana Tech, who has become a fan favorite since his stellar training camp and preseason, caught his first NFL pass during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and it went for a big gain of 41 yards. 

On his first catch, the Eagles used the play-action to tilt the defense and Wentz threw a dart into a small window to hit Turner on an over route. Then, the rookie turned upfield with a ton of space in front of him. 

By the end of the afternoon, he caught six balls for 80 yards. It was the best receiving day for an Eagles rookie since Jordan Matthews in 2014 and was a better day than last year’s first-round pick, Nelson Agholor, has ever had. 

“It's always good to catch a few balls,” said Turner, who has been on the 53-man roster and active for just the past two games. “It gets your motor going and gets your confidence going. It just gets you more into the game and gets you excited. I think it does a lot for a person's confidence.”

Turner played 41 snaps against the Bengals in large part because Matthews was out with an ankle injury. Matthews predominantly plays in the slot, which is where head coach Doug Pederson and his coaching staff like Turner. 

“Honestly, that wasn't really my mindset going into the game,” Turner said when asked if he knew how much opportunity he’d have with Matthews out. “My mindset was to go in there and if my number was called, just go out there and make a play. Even if my number was called, just take care of my assignment and take care of the little details and I knew everything else would just take care of itself. I knew that if I got the ball, I'd be excited. But even if I didn't, just to go out there and just block, and give up myself for my teammates. That was my goal coming into the game and just try to stay focused on that.” 

It appears as though Turner has done enough to warrant keeping his playing time. As Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday — as a limited participant — Pederson said there will still be opportunities for Turner. 

“There are, there are,” Pederson said. “And these are things we talked about the last couple of days as a staff — getting Paul in there, even with Jordan coming back. I think it can be a benefit to the offense to have both of those guys ready to go.”

The Eagles still haven’t had more than four receivers active for any game this season. During the last two weeks when Turner has played, either Agholor or Matthews were out. 

“It means a lot that the coaching staff has confidence in me,” Turner said. “My biggest thing is just to come in here and just work each and every day in practice and just prepare in practice so I'm prepared when I go out there in the game.”