New York Mets: 6 Reasons Why Johan's No-Hitter Was Extra Special

Alex Giobbi@@alexgiobbiAnalyst IJune 2, 2012

New York Mets: 6 Reasons Why Johan's No-Hitter Was Extra Special

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    After 51 years, two months, and one day, the wait ended for the New York Mets. Johan Santana gave Mets fans what they so desperately craved: a no-hitter. 

    Santana delivered a decent performance:a full nine innings, no runs, no hits, five walks and eight strikeouts. His cause was aided by a controversial call on a Carlos Beltran ball that touched the foul line, and a spectacular catch by Queens native Mike Baxter, who left with a bruised shoulder after crashing into the left field wall.

    But there was more to this no-hitter than just the numbers. This no-hitter was special in a number of ways.

    What ways, you may ask? Well, this slideshow will tell you. 

It Was Against the First Team They Ever Faced

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    For any of you Mets history buffs out there, who was the first team the Mets faced in franchise history, not counting spring training?

    If you answered the St. Louis Cardinals, then you are correct. On April 11, 1962, at Busch Stadium, the Mets fielded their first lineup. In that game, Roger Craig took the loss, 11-4. It would be a horrific, if not amusing first season for the Mets, who would stumble to a 40-120 record. 

    Fitting that 51 years later, it would be a battle of the aces, only this time in the Mets favor. 

It Was Against the World Series Champions

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    All no-hitters are hard to get, but there's something about pitching the first no hitter in franchise history against the World Series champions that makes it extra special. 

    Add the fact that the last batter in the game was the World Series MVP, David Freese, and you have a crowning moment of awesome.

    It was also the first time in 22 years that a World Series champion was no-hit. The last time this happened? 1990, when Nolan Ryan blanked the Oakland A's. 

An Old Friend Returned

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    Carlos Beltran played for the Mets from 2005-2011. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants just before the trading deadline in exchange for prospect Zack Wheeler. After the season ended, he signed a deal to play for the Cardinals.

    On June 1st, for the first time since July 27th, 2011, Beltran made his return to Citi Field to a standing ovation. 

    Beltran, like the other Cardinals, was held hitless, although the controversial 6th inning foul call denied him of a hit. Nonetheless, seeing Beltran back at Citi Field was a memorable occasion. 

The Whitestone Kid Saved the No-No

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    Almost every no-hitter has at least one fantastic defensive play which keeps it alive. Who better to accomplish this game's feat than Queens native Mike Baxter?

    In the 7th inning, Yadier Molina crushed one to deep left. Baxter apparently had a bead on it as he tracked it back and caught it, but he ran out of real estate and crashed into the W.B Mason sign. Baxter made out with just a bruise, fortunately, but he still exited the game in pain.

    Johan owes part of that no-no to Baxter, though. Had he not caught it, it could have gone one of two ways: an error, or worse, a hit.  

Who Can Forget the Guy in the Gary Carter Jersey?

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    If you watch this video and pay close attention to 0:26-0:30, you notice a guy wearing a Gary Carter jersey rushing in to congratulate Santana. He manages to get caught in the mob before security grabs him and wrestles him to the ground.

    While we can all guess what happened next, he probably spent the night in jail, it was still pretty cool. Considering Gary Carter died in February after his battle with brain cancer, and the Mets are paying tribute to him on their sleeves, you have to think that this is either a sign or just pure coincidence that this happened. Either way, give that fan props for what he did.  

Johan Went the Distance

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    Back in 2011, Santana spent the season rehabbing his arm as he recovered from major shoulder surgery. After declaring that he was ready to go, he pitched shutout ball on Opening day, showing that he really was ready. 

    in his last start before the no-hitter, Johan blanked the Padres on 96 pitches. He had to work harder to take care of the Cardinals. Before Friday, the most pitches he ever threw in a game was 125. It took him an extra nine pitches to complete this game. 

    Terry Collins kept him in the game despite obvious concerns for his starter's arm, and when he made a mound visit after Santana walked his fifth batter, people assumed the worst. Fortunately, Collins only asked him how he was doing, to which Santana said he was fine. Thankfully, Santana prove himself right, and managed to take care of everything else.

    If this does not say that Santana is back, I have no idea what will.

    Johan will obviously rest up after his performance, and his next start will be pushed back. Hopefully, he'll be ready after that.

    Oh, and let's not forget Justin Turner, who, despite his injury, had the strength to deliver a whipped cream pie right in Johan's face. Classic.