No Doubt About It: Johan Santana Epitomizes the Incredible 2012 New York Mets
I'm still pinching myself.
And I know I'm not alone.
After over half a century, the New York Mets are finally off the schneid.
8,020th's time the charm, I suppose.
Johan Santana did what he was brought here to do back in 2008, when the Mets acquired him from the Minnesota Twins in a trade that included Philip Humber.
For the first time in his career, and (of course) the first time in Mets history, Johan Santana threw a no-hitter.
With five walks and a career-high 134 pitches, it was far from perfect for the Mets' ace. Not as perfect as Humber's gem earlier this season.
Yet, Santana dazzled the St. Louis Cardinals, who entered the month of June as the National League's best offense, striking out 8 including reigning World Series MVP David Freese for the final out.
Even our old friend Carlos Beltran was there, making a memorable return to Citi Field in unusual fashion.
If you believe in karma, the Mets fans in attendance certainly got what was coming to them after they greeted Beltran with deserved cheers, cheers he deserved more of during his time here.
It was Beltran's foul ball in the 6th inning that the cynics will erroneously point to as they attempt to diminish Santana's tremendous accomplishment.
That's the beauty of baseball, though. The human element, for better or for worse, has always made its presence felt. It's foolish to discredit a dominant performance with such trivial objections.
Santana has now thrown back-to-back complete game shutouts, and with every start he is proving more and more that he's still the same guy he's always been, perhaps with a bit less velocity on his fastball.
This 2012 Mets team was expected to be a laughing stock. Yet here they are, on the second day of June, 1 game out of first place in the most competitive division in baseball.
This team is about redemption, comebacks and resilience. Fighting for every out. Nobody embodies that competitive spirit like Johan Santana.
Santana epitomizes what this team is all about, and his no-hitter will make people think that anything is possible. Ya gotta believe, right?
June 1, 2012 will go down as one of the most unforgettable days in Mets history. The day the Mets joined 28 other teams in baseball who have thrown no-hitters.
The San Diego Padres, who are in their 44th season, are now the lone franchise who has never thrown a no-no, and their streak of bizarre luck continues.
The Padres have also never had a player hit for the cycle in franchise history, something the Mets have done 10 times, most recently by former Padre Scott Hairston.
Nobody expected much from the Mets, or from Johan Santana, especially after he missed the entire 2011 season due to a shoulder injury.
Yet here he is, mowing down batters like a Cy Young contender, as the Mets continue to be amazin' and hang tough with the best teams in the National League.
Santana's energy is infectious, and his leadership was on full display Friday night at Citi Field. He's a warrior. And now, he'll be etched in Mets lore forever. Could not have happened to a better guy.
Bonus video awesomeness: