Tag:New York
Posted on: June 2, 2012 4:04 pm

Imperfect Perfection

It wasn't a perfect game.

Johan Santana allowed 5 walks.  He was also the beneficiary of two near-misses.  One in the sixth where a line drive over third base appeared on replay to dust up some white chalk but umpire Adrian Johnson ruled foul.  And another in the seventh when a laser beam off the bat of Met-killer Yadier Molina sent Queens-native Mike Baxter tumbling full force into the left field wall.  

It wasn't a perfect game.

But it was perfect.

The New York Mets had to wait over 50 years to get their first ever no-hitter.  Their in-division rival, the Miami Marlins, are in their 20th year in the league and they've already had 4 no-hitters.  Up until June 1st, 2012, the Mets had played 8,019 games, had 35 one-hitters, and had thrice taken a no-hit bid into the ninth inning (all by Met-great Tom Seaver).  But the wait was well worth it.

It seems fitting that Johan Santana would be the one to break the curse.  He was supposed to be the savior when the Mets traded just about every solid player in the farm system.  After the seventeen game stretch where the Mets watched a 7-game lead over the Phillies dwindle down to nothing, Santana was supposed to be the guy who would prevent that from happening ever again.  But that didn't happen.  The next year the Mets just missed getting into the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Then the wheels fell off the Mets.  Injuries and a lack of pitching depth resulted in a miserable 2009.  And at the end of that year, Santana got hurt and missed all of September.  Then in 2010 he got hurt again at the end of the season and he underwent surgery which required him to miss all of 2011.

But he, like the Mets this year, fought back.  Usually, surgery to fix a torn anterior capsule in a pitcher's shoulder results in the end of that pitcher's career or a marked decline in effectiveness (see: Bret Saberhagen, Chien-Ming Wang and Mark Prior).  Similarly, when a team loses it's best player and it's catalyst, it usually results in a decline the next year.

But Santana is defying the odds.  And so are the Mets.  

The Mets are currently 29-23 and 1 game back of the first-place Washington Nationals.  Read that sentence again.  If anyone could have forseen that the Mets, currently tied for first in the Wild Card standings, would be where they are now I would've laughed.  But they're here with a scrappy, hard-nosed, odd-defying, never-say-die, group of guys who would probably be sitting the bench on most other teams.  They're doing this with the likes of Jeremy Hefner, Mike Nickeas, Rob Johnson, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Baxter, and Vinny Rottino, among others.  They're doing this with Jason Bay and Ruben Tejada on the DL.  I don't know how they're doing it, but they are.

Johan Santana has done the impossible.  Who says the Mets can't do the same?

I know that there are over a hundred games left to be played but this season has already had a lot of Amazin' magic, I can only hope that it's a sign for the rest of the season.

But whether the Mets make a Miracle run or if they fall into oblivion, the season will always be remembered as a magical one.

As a Mets fan I can only hope that the Mets continue this run of imperfect perfection. 
Category: MLB
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