Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history last night and, of course, it all hinged on Carlos Beltran. In the top of the sixth, Beltran hit a rocket down the third base line that was ruled foul and was clearly fair. It would be much ado about nothing, since these things happen all the time in baseball games, but Beltran and the Mets have a history. Beltran burst on to the national scene in 2004 when he singlehandedly brought the Houston Astros relevancy and this close to their first World Series berth. He hit eight home runs that postseason for Houston and parlayed that in to a nearly $120 million contract with the New York Mets.
As always happens with athletes and big contracts, Beltran never lived up to the hype and was demonized for it—think A-Rod, Jr. In the same season he hit 41 home runs and OPS+'d 150, he will always be remembered for freezing at a jelly-leg curveball from Adam Wainwright to end the Mets playoff run just two years after he earned that paycheck. Mets fans never forgave him because, for the most part, they are miserable.
This is a great time to be a Mets fan, though. The yin to Armando Galarraga's not-quite-perfect-game yang, Johan Santana now has a no-hitter. More importantly, the Mets have a no-hitter for the first time ever. A team that has seen both pitching juggernauts and journeymen go on to throw no-hitters or perfect games elsewhere; the Mets finally have one of their own.
Sure, for now, it will be discussed, but this is just one of those things that happens with the "human element." It's not as egregious as Galarraga's perfect game bid, in large part because it didn't ruin anything. It's just a footnote. A footnote people will read less and less as time goes on—and one they never would have read had it been anyone else's liner down third base.
This is the Mets, though—the LOLMets, to be exact. So, of course the first no-hitter in franchise history has this stupid human element pimple. And of course it was off the bat of the guy Mets fans love to hate. And of course the guy who made Beltran look silly, lo those many years ago, got rocked to the tune of seven earned runs. It's as if the screenwriters said "Yeah, we'll give them the no-hitter, but we're not Disney-fying this, we need something to keep it grounded—a hook."
The good thing about sports, though, is that it's all results-based. All that matters is that scoreboard chock full of doughnuts. You can always put that in the books.
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