Monday, August 6, 2012

We have our winners of the Johan Santana no-hitter DVDs!

Five Subway Squawkers readers have won copies of  "BASEBALL’S GREATEST GAMES: NEW YORK METS FIRST NO-HITTER," courtesy of A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions.

The DVD includes the television broadcast of Santana's June 1 no-hitter over the St. Louis Cardinals as well as a special audio feature allowing fans to watch the television broadcast and listen to the Mets radio network announcers in English or Spanish.

The DVD is available online at the Mets' online shop and in the Mets Team Store.

We asked those entering the contest to tell us at what point during the game they first started to think that Santana might actually pitch the Mets' first no-hitter.

Here are the winners and their responses:

Taryn and I were doing laundry that night so I had to listen to the first two innings on the radio.  We got back home in time for me to notice that both Santana and Adam Wainwright had not allowed a hit through two innings.  When both pitchers got through three innings with neither team collecting a hit, that was when I first started thinking about the no-hitter for Santana.  I said to myself, "Santana might have to throw a no-hitter to beat Wainwright tonight".

In the bottom of the fourth inning, David Wright broke up Wainwright's no-hitter and started a two-run rally.  Once the Mets had the lead (and some hits), my full focus turned to Johan's attempt to make history.  After the Cardinals went down in the fifth inning and still did not have a hit, Taryn decided she was going to go to the supermarket after the next inning.  I decided I was going to stay home.

When Carlos Beltran didn't break up the no-hitter on the ball that kicked up chalk down the left field line, I really started to feel that I was watching something special.  But Johan was already approaching 100 pitches and felt there was no chance Terry Collins would leave him in the game, especially considering his injury from the previous year.

As odd as it may seem, part of me wanted Johan to give up a hit because I didn't want the team's first no-hitter to be a combined effort.  It wouldn't feel right to see a reliever celebrating the final out instead of a deserving starter.  Notice how I assumed the Mets were going to throw the no-hitter there.  I was getting very confident about it at that point.

That confidence grew in the seventh, when Mike Baxter made the play that will make him a Mets legend forever, a la Ron Swoboda for his World Series catch and Endy Chavez for his NLCS catch.  After Johan had finished his seventh hitless inning, I called Taryn (who had left for the supermarket one inning earlier), telling her to rush back from the store because Johan was taking his no-hitter into the eighth.  She made it back within a few minutes.

In the eighth, I kept thinking that I had been in attendance at Shea Stadium the last two times a Mets pitcher took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but both Tom Glavine and John Maine fell four outs short of making history.  When Santana got the first two outs of the inning, that was the one time I felt a lack of confidence.  It was slight, but it was there.  But then he induced a harmless infield pop-up that ended the inning.  He was now only three outs away.

Only five weeks before, I had written a fairly lengthy piece on the Mets' lack of no-hitters, discussing interesting coincidences and anecdotes surrounding the topic.  I then realized that piece might be rendered obsolete if Santana could get three more outs.  I didn't mind that at all.

Taryn was sitting on the floor and I was sitting on the couch.  Neither of us moved throughout the entire ninth inning.  When Matt Holliday hit a first-pitch soft liner to center, Taryn thought for sure that the no-hitter was over.  It wasn't.  Andres Torres raced in and caught the ball in shallow center.  Then Allen Craig hit a fly ball to left field.  Although Kirk Nieuwenhuis took an odd circuitous route to it, he made the catch and Santana was one out away from baseball immortality.

David Freese came up and Santana threw him three consecutive balls.  Although he had now thrown 131 pitches, I wasn't concerned with the pitch count.  I knew that even if walked Freese, he wasn't going to be taken out of the game.  It was his no-hitter.  No one was going to share it with him.

Then came a called strike.  Two strikes away.  That was followed by a slow topper down the third base line.  As soon as Freese hit it, I thought of Paul Hoover hitting a 30-foot swinging bunt that ended John Maine's no-hitter in 2007.  That ball stayed fair. This one went foul.  Santana was now one strike away from the moment all Mets fans had been waiting for from the first time they said "Let's go Mets".

Taryn was twiddling on her phone on the floor.  I was practically hyperventilating on the couch.  Then Santana looked in, got the sign from Josh Thole and fired away.  Swing and a miss!  He had done it!  The no-hitter was complete!  I immediately leaped off the couch and into Taryn's arms, jumping up and down in place a la Billy Wagner and Paul LoDuca after the Mets had clinched the NL East title in 2006.  The tears were flowing.  Most of them were mine.   (I'm not ashamed to admit it.)

As Gary Cohen said on the air, "it has happened".  And it did.  Johan Santana had finally gotten the monkey off the team's back.  The Mets finally had their first no-hitter.  No longer did we have to keep track of the number of games the team had played without a no-hitter.  (It was at 8,019 before Game No. 8,020 ended the no-hit drought.)  After two innings, I first started thinking about it.  By the time the Mets took the lead in the fourth inning, I really started thinking about it.  By the seventh inning, I knew Santana was going to get it.  Two innings later, he did.

It was a moment I'll never forget (as you can see by this detailed recap of it).  I'm sure it's a moment all Mets fans will never forget.

Thanks for holding this contest, allowing me to share one of my greatest memories as a Mets fan.  Let's go Mets!
New York, New York

Being in Nashville, I don't usually get to see the Mets play, so I live vicariously through what I can get from MLB At Bat & Twitter.

I was having a catch-up evening with an old acquaintance, and I checked my twitter feed between our dinner and trek for coffee.

Keith Olbermann was the one whose tweets caught my eye that night. I think he first mentioned it in the 5th. Then the 6th came, and once the Beltran thing happened, I dared to believe. We got the bounce that we usually didn't, the call that goes against us (see: R.A.'s 1 hitter that came after) went for us, and we had a chance.

We got our coffee and sat outside in a part of town called Hillsboro Village. Across from the coffee place is a sports bar. While eavesdropping on some Vandy students debating anarchy and government, a familiar hat logo caught my eye. One random TV in the sports bar across the street was showing the Mets game instead of the NBA. 

We hightailed it across the street, found the game set, stood around as inconspicuously as possible, and watched it finish. 30 years of waiting, and I actually got to see it. So sweet!

Honestly, I was at my grade school reunion and was not watching the game.  When the news came over my smartphone, the Met fans present had quite the celebration.
New York, New York

I thought it was going to be a no-hitter after it ended.
Boulder, Colorado

When I first started thinking Johan might pitch a no-hitter?
When I read about it on the MLB website the next day...
Nottingham, UK

1 comment:

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

Who would have thought that writing a "War and Peace"-length recap would lead to winning the DVD?

Thanks for the opportunity! It was great sharing my story with you and your readers!

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