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.
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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...