Johan Santana of the New York Mets celebrates after pitching a no hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals at CitiField in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Johan Santana pitched the first no hitter in Mets history. Mets defeated the Cardinals 8-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Did you miss Johan Santana's no-hitter Friday night, the first ever by a Met? Don't worry. You'll have another chance someday.
I saw a t-shirt once. It said Baseball is Life.
Well, yes. Baseball is life. But a lot of other things are life, too.
Friday night, another life thing got between me and immortality.
Okay, so it was actually another baseball thing. Friday night, I simply couldn't turn down an invitation to a Portland Mavericks reunion. But it was with some regret that I followed along on my phone, as Johan Santana got through the sixth, and the seventh and the eighth, and finally the glorious ninth. A phone's better than nothing, of course. But I would have preferred Twitter and television, which is how I usually follow baseball life.
But I felt sorry for myself only a little. Most of my sympathy went to Mets fans who have followed their team for decades, only to have life get in the way of seeing or listening to the first no-hitter in the franchise's half-a-century history.
I'm sure that most of you know what I mean ... You might see your team play 140 games, or 150 games, or 161 games ... but it's that 162nd game, the one you missed ... that's the game in which something incredible happened.
Though almost certainly not as incredible as a New York Met throwing a no-hitter.
Do you know how many times a New York Met has thrown a one-hitter over at least nine innings?
Tom Seaver threw five one-hitters. Nolan Ryan threw a one-hitter. John Matlack, Gary Gentry, and David Cone all threw two one-hitters. Steve Trachsel -- yes, the immortal Steve Trachsel -- threw two one-hitters in one season. Of course, any number of Met pitchers (including Ryan and Seaver) threw no-hitters either before they were Mets, or after.
It was just the strangest damned thing. All those years, all those brilliant pitchers, all those one-hitters ... and yet never a no-hitter. I won't say it was the strangest thing that we've seen in our baseball lives ... but it's gotta be pretty high on the list, right? No San Diego Padre has ever hit for the cycle, but this was stranger than that. The Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908, but this was stranger than that. Bud Selig's going to live forever, but this was even stranger than that.
If you're a Mets fan and you're reading this and you didn't see or hear the no-hitter Friday night, you have my deepest sympathy. Seriously. I can only attempt to console you with this: You'll see your no-hitter someday. And I'll bet a hundred dollars you won't have to wait for another 50 years.