Take a look at the headline above. This was the back page of Saturday’s edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. See anything intersting? See it twice?
Apparently, the writers and/or editorial staff of the newspaper don’t think Johan Santana earned his no-hitter, the first thrown by a Met in 8,020 regular season games. They claim the blown call by third base umpire Adrian Johnson on Carlos Beltran’s screaming liner caused Santana to pitch a tainted no-hitter against their hometown team, hence the asterisks on their headline.
Yes, it’s true that Beltran’s ball kicked up chalk when it grazed the third base line. But note what I said in the last sentence. It grazed the line. It probably touched two millimeters of the third base foul line. At around 100 MPH. Just as a home plate umpire could miss seeing a ball thrown at triple digit velocity cross the inner two millimeters of home plate, Adrian Johnson could do the same on the ball hit by Beltran. It wasn’t a blatant error. It was the human eye not being able to see a blazing liner touch a small piece of real estate. It happens.
Who knows? Maybe the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had plenty of asterisks left over from 1997-2001. You know, the ones they never used for Mark McGwire when he was blasting 220 HR over his 4½ year tenure in St. Louis with his steroid-filled biceps.
It’s okay. We understand why St. Louis would be bitter at a bad call by an umpire. After all, it was first base umpire Don Denkinger who blew a call at first base in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series that allowed the Kansas City Royals to rally for a victory, one that was followed by a Game 7 shellacking of St. Louis to give the Royals their only championship.
But please, for the love of Joaquin Andujar, don’t take away from Santana’s performance on Friday night by placing an asterisk next to NO-HITTER. Especially when the Cardinals have 18 pennants, 11 World Series titles and more playoff appearances since Y2K (eight) than the Mets have had in their entire existence (seven).
Let us have our fun without crashing our party, St. Louis. I mean, you can already lay claim to everything, right? Well, everything except a hit against Johan Santana on June 1, 2012.
Get over it, Cardinals fans. We deserve this one. And none of your leftover asterisks from a dozen years ago will ever be able to take away from our moment of history.