While we’re on the subject of Mr. Horwitz, have you given him a follow on Twitter yet? You should. You really should. Here’s a sample tweet about one of his all-too-common minor mishaps:
Last time I wore my 86 WS ring was at a high school reunion in 2003.Tried to impress a girl. Finger had gotten fat, Ring had to be sawed off
Spring Training more or less just started, and already we have my favorite Mets-related Twitter hashtag for at least the next month. This is what makes Mets fans so great. Hopefully the guy continues to show the awareness we’ve seen so far on the baseball field, if only so that can we have more #MoreCowgill.
Yesterday, Terry Collins told reporters that his third baseman David Wright need not wear a “C” on his jersey, citing Derek Jeter as an example as someone who just implicitly acts as his team’s leader without all the fanfare of having some extra stitching on his uniform.
This is his team. He’s the face of it. He’s the captain.
To me, that’s the beginning, middle, and end of the discussion. For the sake of not hitting submit right away, here’s a little more discussion anyhow.
Over the past 9 years, we’ve all watched as David Wright’s grown up on the baseball field. There were ups, there were downs, and there were those times when he’d get all up in Mike Pelfrey’s business (for example).
Outside of the 2011 season when David had injuries to contend with, he’s been the picture of consistency. He says all the right things after every single game, regardless of which of the W/L columns it was to be filed under. He’s always the first one to run out of the dugout while the PA announcer at Citi Field introduces the squad. Those are all things that a captain does. If you’re a fan of the Mets, and certainly if you’re a member of the Mets, you already knew all of this. But it bears repeating anyway: David Wright is the captain of the New York Mets.
Look, if all parties involved decide that, yes, let’s go ahead and slap that “C” on the guy’s chest, then so be it. I would not object, and honestly? I’d probably get a little thrill out of seeing it for the first time, myself. It’s been a while since John Franco was around, after all. As it is now though, it’s my opinion that they just save the trouble of stitching it onto his uniform. It’s far from a crucial thing to do.
Now, if we can get past calling him the “Mets’ Jeter” so that one day some other fanbase can call one of their key players “this team’s David Wright,” or better still, Mets fans call someone “this generation’s David Wright,” I’d really be happy.
With a day off today, the Mets have time to reflect on losing six of their last seven games. Things could look pretty pretty crappy right now.
But a day off is also a good time to put something in a broader picture: it’s nothing short of miraculous that the Mets were in a position to lose six of seven games and still have a 32-29 record in the middle of June.
This team could have folded a long time ago. What reasons could they have had for throwing in the towel and calling it an inevitable losing season?
- Ike Davis, supposed to be a core part of our lineup, has arguably been the worst hitter in baseball this year with a .162 average.
- The Mets have a bullpen ERA of 5.46. The next highest ERA in MLB? The Cubs at 4.41. According to sources at the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s like really, really bad.
- In March, more people would have thought Omar Quintanilla was a new dish at Taco Bell instead of the team’s latest shortstop for the last stretch of time.
- Mike Pelfrey. Season-ending surgery. Remember him?
- Jason Bay is still the Jason Bay of the Mets. He’s hitting .197.
- Andres Torres, who has played 38 games this season in primarily centerfield, is hitting .209.
- The Mets may need to move the fences in another 20 feet if Daniel Murphy wants to start knocking it out of the park. In 232 at-bats, he has yet to homer.
- The Mets have a run differential of -19.
- The team ace, Johan Santana, began the season returning from a shoulder surgery people were unsure he’d ever recover from.
The fact that they are above .500 despite all of this is incredible.
This year, the NL East was meant to be a race between four teams, with the poor ‘ole Mets limping their way to another rough finish. In March, don’t you think everyone other than a Mets fan would have laughed at the notion that they’d be above .500 at this point in the season? What if you told those people they’d be above .500 given everything up there?
Before the season, 50 ESPN writers made predictions for the MLB season. Not one of the 50 said the Mets would win the NL East or claim either of the wild card slots. Each of the other four teams in the division received plenty of mentions in the predictions.
And right now, the Mets are pretty average. And average isn’t acceptable, in the long run. Nor does it mean the Mets will be average at the end of the season—they could be better or worse.
But, take a look at the lineup they’re trotting out there on a daily basis, the stiff competition in the NL East, the injuries, the pitching—isn’t it pretty goddamn amazin’ that the Mets are average at this point?
And Ike Davis won’t hit .162 all season. The bullpen can’t have a 5.46 ERA all season (they can’t be that bad…right? right?). Daniel Murphy will probably end the season with a home run and an OPS above his current mark of .690, because he’s just a better hitter than that.
Maybe Omar Quintanilla will be a recognizable name among Mets fans by the end of the season because the dude is hitting .314 with a .956 OPS.
And Johan’s arm is only going to get stronger.
It’s pretty awesome that the Mets are in a position to compete right now. Between the disastrous bullpen, major holes in the lineups and injuries to critical players there was a lot of room for this team to be dreadful. Miserable. Terrible. God awful.
Yet here they are. 32-29.
A lot of these problems can be fixed over the next couple months—at 32-29 the Mets have a legitimate shot of winning the NL East or a Wild Card birth. With everything that has hit the fan so far this season, that’s pretty freakin’ amazin’.
Many Mets fans can agree that loving the Mets can be a lot like a bad relationship. For some, the events of the last few years felt like the last straw. Avoiding the park simply out of a feeling of betrayal from a franchise that wouldn’t resign one of our most beloved players in Jose Reyes and after squandering millions of dollars on a bad deal with a convicted felon.
We may never know how much the Mets knew about Madoff, but the whole affair left a bad taste in the mouth of some fans and questioning the baseball moves of the team seemed quaint as compared to the sick-to-your-stomach feeling that ownership might be involved in some very bad things.
Last night, I started to forgive and tried to forget. This season was not expected to yield much. A rebuilding year. A franchise coming out of the nuclear winter of financial ruin less devestated than worried they might be, but still battered. June 1st, a game out of first place, several games above five hundred than this late in some time.
And a miracle.
In some ways last night was almost as sweet as a World Series win, not quite, but so rare, for this team at least. Something the team has longed to achieve for 50 seasons. They’ve won two World Series championships. They never had a pitcher toss a no-hitter. You go through every game with the hope this might be the one. That’s a lot of games and a lot of longing. This was big. This was special.
Who knows what the rest of the season holds for this team, but something changed. This was a turning point for some people and allowed me to finally move on and enjoy it with the baggage a little less heavy.
Terry cried, I cried and I finally remembered what it was like to really truly fall in love with this team again.
- The Mets played 8,020 games before they secured a no-hitter.
- The Mets won their first no-hitter in their 50th season
- Mike Baxter made an incredible catch to preserve the no-hitter, injuring his shoulder in the process. Baxter grew up in Queens rooting for the Mets.
- The hitter Baxter robbed was Yadier Molina, who hit a two run home run in the top of the ninth inning in Game 7 of the NLCS in 2006. The Cardinals won the game 3-1, knocking the Mets out of the playoffs. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series, beating the Detroit Tigers in five games.
- This was the first game Carlos Beltran returned to Queens in a Cardinals uniform. As a Met, Beltran had a chance to beat the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 of that NLCS in 2006. The tying runs were on base, with two outs, and Beltran himself representing the winning run. He struck out on a nasty curveball by Adam Wainwright, who started tonight’s game.
- In the sixth inning, Carlos Beltran hit a hard line drive down the left field line that appears to have landed on the third base foul line, making it a fair ball and breaking up the no-hitter. The umpire called the ball foul and after reviewing the replay after the game refused to comment.
- Only two teams in baseball had yet to have a pitcher toss a no-hitter going into tonight’s game. The San Diego Padres are the only team left, 43 seasons, 6,895 games without a no-hitter. The Mets had the longest streak of seasons without a no-hitter.
- Johan Santana threw 135 pitches, his most ever. Terry Collins told Johan, “you’re my hero” when he came to the mound to see if Santana was able to keep pitching after throwing his 118th pitch in the 8th inning. Collins later became emotional at the press conference following the game discussing what he told Johan, and said “I couldn’t take him out, I couldn’t”
- The most pitches Santana had thrown before this was 108.
- Santana did not have his best stuff, he struck out just 8 and walked 5 batters.
- Johan also tossed the first back to back complete game shut outs for the Mets since 1992, by David Cone.
- Johan Santana became the eighth player in MLB history to throw a no-hitter against the defending World Series champions. Last pitcher to do it was Nolan Ryan, against the defending champion Athletics, in 1990.
- Johan missed the entire 2011 season with a surgically repaired shoulder. Pretty sure nobody has ever pitched a no-hitter after missing an entire season to injury. UPDATE: Elias says, Santana was the third non-rookie pitcher in the last 50 years to throw a no-hitter after missing a season to injury. The other two: Jim Palmer in 1969 and Doc Gooden in 1996.
- 13 ex-Met pitchers threw no-hitters after leaving the Mets, 2 pitched perfect games. Former Met David Cone pitched a perfect game for the Yankees. Philip Humber pitched a perfect game for the White Sox.
- The Cardinals have the best offense in the National League, they lead the league in home runs, runs, and batting average.
- The last time the Cardinals were no-hit was 1990, by Fernando Valenzuela.
- This was only the 13th game where Santana pitched a full 9 innings in 272 career starts.
- Josh Thole, who caught Santana’s perfect game, was appearing in his first game since missing nearly an entire month with a concussion.
- This was the first no-hitter thrown by an NL pitcher since Roy Halladay in the 2010 NLDS, before that, the last five no-hitters were by AL pitchers.
- The last pitcher to throw a shutout and then a no-hitter in consecutive starts was Dave Righetti in 1983.
- Santana is the 4th pitcher to have won multiple Cy Young Awards before his first no-hitter. The other four: Josh Gibson, Bret Saberhagen, and Tom Seaver.