Somewhere in an unlabeled box, among other memorabilia, near where our chimney exits the roof of our home and nestled cozily together with a smudged Bud Harrelson signed baseball there is a 1969 Little League Banquet Program that bears the autograph of Art Shamsky, one of the famously contributing platoon players of the 69 Amazing Mets.
Since that year and forward I have always been a Mets fan, no matter the good and bad play or the good and bad years.
And like many other longtime Mets fans I thought I would probably never see a Mets pitcher throw a no-hitter.
But, as if from out of nowhere, history changed tonight.
I was lazily pitched back in my recliner. My number one nine-year old had his head sunk and angled into a pillow on the couch. He had the remote. He is a Yankee fan. We were watching the Yankee game and their commercials. Number one was seriously contemplating the zany ideas he was being fed about painting parts of the house in pinstripes. I was respectfully enjoying his zaniness.
The foolishness then turned to hopefulness and the channel turned to SNY when we heard that Johan Santana was throwing a no-hitter going into the seventh inning. I had been there, watched this and seen it slip away before. And so, at first, my hope was a mere gesture as I really did not believe.
The eighth inning turned hope into chance. Santana had to get up for his turn to swing a bat. The tension was palpable. Who the hell wants him on base? Who the hell wants him to get hit by a pitch? Who the hell wants him to foul a ball into the dirt, or an ankle? Thankfully, and with full awareness, there were no swings of the bat; there were no glitches and a welcomed strike out sent Santana back to the dugout.
At one quick out in the ninth and our star pitcher now on the mound battling for baseball immortality I was still pitched back in my seat. I had spent too many years on the edges. But two outs on the board and some sparkling fielding on display by the supporting cast made me think it may actually happen. Johan now looked as nervous as I had become. And the young Yankee fan in the room started telling me to calm down and be quiet. And then, with an instantaneous obliteration of doubt, a swinging third strike brought forth glory.
History was broken, made, sealed and delivered.
There are players from the 69 Mets team that will always be my favorites. And, in my memory banks now, Johan Santana is right there with them too.
© 2012 Christopher’s Views