So, this. "Do Mets Fans Wish Someone Else Had Thrown Their First No-Hitter?"
Fuck no. Speaking as someone who jumped up and down and screamed like a crazy person in seat 7 of row 3 of section 513 shortly before 10 p.m. on Friday night, I do not wish that. No one wishes that. The three 50-year-old guys behind me didn't ask me not to take their picture, because they wished it was Al Leiter who'd thrown the no-hitter. We did not hurry out of the ballpark after the final out, racing to escape the depressing truth that Ron Darling was in the booth instead of on the hill.
No, we headed out overjoyed, chanting in the anodyne concrete Citi stairwells as though it was fucking 1986, because the Mets had finally thrown a fucking no-hitter—and because it was Johan Santana who threw the fucking thing.
Santana's a "mercenary?" That's supposed to make him not a "True Met?" Here are some more mercenaries: Rusty Staub, John Franco, Keith Hernandez, Tommie Agee, Gary Carter. That's a third of the players in the Mets Hall of Fame. Are they not True Mets, either?
Santana's "not beloved?" He showed up in 2008—for a bunch of prospects and a bunch of money, yes—and damn near won a Cy Young Award. This is a franchise with a history of buying high and selling low, but Santana, unlike the usual Met acquisition, gave us everything we bargained for and more. In that first year, he led the league in innings and finished second in strikeouts and WAR. He was heroic down the stretch—he had a 1.83 ERA and a 4-0 record in September, and no Mets fan has forgotten his short-rest shutout of the Marlins in the season's penultimate game.
And despite injuries and diminished velocity and a whole lost season, he's still writing franchise history. Santana has the best ERA+ among everyone who's ever started for the Mets. He's a truly elite pitcher. He's great. An all-timer. Maybe that's not so typically Mets, but, then again, neither is a no-hitter.