Santana no-hitter one of those good moments for a Mets fan

There I was, night off from the ballpark, listening and watching my favorite  alternative rock band “Weezer”  in Atlantic City New Jersey in the Bogata Hotel showroom. It was planned, the birthday gift from three weeks ago. What wasn’t in the plan was Johan Santana throwing a no-hitter at Citi Field on the first day of June.

A Friday evening at Citi Field where, I would usually be situated, upstairs in my perch in the comfortable press box, but the first no-no in New York Mets history, 50-years of futility and I was not there to see it.

Yes, frustration. And moments after Mets SNY Television voice Gary Cohen said after being questioned, ‘did he ever think it would happen, his response, ‘No, but now it has’ Weezer would finish their last number.

That number, “Say it Ain’t So.”

But it is true. After 8,020 games, Mets radio voice Howie Rose, and fans of the second baseball team in New York, can now say, the New York Mets have made baseball history. They are no longer one of two teams to not have a pitcher throw the illustrious no-hitter.

It is so, and the San Diego Padres have that lone distinction.

Mike Baxter, the kid from Queens, crashed into the center field wall on the warning track to keep the suspense going. The Carlos Beltran ball that hit the chalk beyond third base appeared to be an extra base hit. The umpire, according to replays may have got it wrong.

To Mets’ fans, and to Santana, the call went their way. The no-hitter is in the record books and well deserved for a pitcher who many said was finished.

It was back in late March. Santana was not supposed to come north with the team at the end of spring training. The comeback from shoulder surgery, which shut Santana down all last year, was slow and cautious. However, it was soon, according to Santana, working according to the plan.

That plan, which was heard since his opening day start in early April, was continue to make adjustments as this Mets team had trouble scoring runs, but staying competitive. Then the last three starts you sensed the plan was ahead of schedule.

Santana was throwing more pitches, going deeper into games. The changeup was effective, so was the slider. The fastball was getting close to his velocity, clocked close to 90, or more.

The manager, Terry Collins was more concerned about the pitch count. Last Saturday, at Citi field, Santana threw 94 pitches, the complete game shutout over the San Diego Padres. Collins let him continue, as he did Friday night with a career high 134 pitches, concerned about the shoulder.

After that sixth inning, Collins asked Santana, “How do you feel?” The ace, who said afterwards, he came to New York “to win a championship for the organization and fans,” told his manager, ‘I feel good, let me continue.’

It was a momentous occasion for a franchise that has been troubled with financial issues .And nothing has seemed to go right since that last game of 2006, when Beltran struck out with runners on base, at Shea Stadium, in game seven of the National League Championship Series.

That was against the same St. Louis Cardinals who go in the record book as victims of the Santana no-hitter.

It was the first and real significant moment at Citi Field for Mets baseball. Santana erased the close calls of Tom Seaver, the last Mets pitcher to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning. The first one, of three close calls, a perfect game broke up by Jimmy Qualls of the Chicago Cubs in 1969.

It will be remembered what Johan Santana did Friday night. The umpire, Adrian Johnson, at third base, may have missed that Beltran call in the sixth inning. But that does not matter now. Johan Santana may have put the New York Mets back on the map with that outing on the mound at Citi Field.

Just hope “Weezer” does not get in the way again for another possible and maybe another no-hitter in New York Mets baseball history, or perhaps another first, a perfect game as they go into game number 8,021.

E-mail Rich Mancuso:  Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alternative Rock Band, Band Weezer, Baseball Team, Bogata Hotel, Carlos Beltran, Gary Cohen, Hotel Showroom, Johan Santana, Mets Fans, Mets Team, Mike Baxter, New York Mets, Radio Voice, Rich Mancuso, San Diego Padres, Sny, Top Story, Warning Track

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 3, 2012

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Subway Series: Round 2, At Citi Field

New York – From those who would rather see a reduction of six games to three between the Yankees and Mets, well think twice. According to Major League baseball this cross-town series continues to be the most popular of the interleague matchups, but a proposed realignment of the leagues for next year could mean more games between the two teams.

So at Citi Field Friday evening, for the first time this season, as the calendar turned to July, there was a full house, 42,020, the largest crowd at the new ballpark in Flushing. Because the Yankees have turned it around since, that mid- May sweep in the Bronx at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. And the underachieving Mets are overachieving without David Wright and Ike Davis.

It was another Yankees win over the Mets, and both Alex Rodriguez and Jose Reyes were involved in a seventh inning play at third base that led to the ejection of Mets manager Terry Collins. Rodriquez, as it appeared, did not make the tag on a sliding Reyes. And before the game, Rodriquez said Reyes “Was the world’s greatest player.”  Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would say that his second baseman, Robinson Cano “is the best player on the field.”

Comments like that always epitomized the six- game series with the Yankees and Mets, though it used to come from the fans. The Yankees have their history and record, and still have to make their point to the Mets fans who await their day as the number one baseball team in New York. Truth is, Reyes and Cano, are two of the premiere stars in the game from the Dominican Republic. Reyes, though, could be the most exciting player in the game because the numbers tell the story, and his two hits Friday night extended his Major League lead in multi-game hits with 43 and leads baseball in hitting with a .352 average…

Mariano Rivera comes out of the Yankees pen in the ninth without the entrance of” Sandman” but the ovation sounded more like an entrance coming out of the pen at Yankee Stadium…. Interesting at bat in the inning as Reyes batted from the right side against Rivera as the second batter in the inning and grounded out to A-Rod …

Rodriguez gets a 400-foot double to straight away center in the eighth inning, would have been a home run in the Bronx or another ballpark that gave the Yankees a 5-1 lead…And after that double, it was all Yankees fans over taking the home crowd faithful ones of the Mets…

And as Mets radio voice Wayne Hagin said, “Strange subway series without Derek Jeter and David Wright,” meaning two prominent faces of this series and New York baseball are out of the lineup due to injuries…   Collins said, “Today we did not get our two-out hits.” That was part of the success on the recent Mets road trip where they scored a team record 46- runs in four games…

In case you are counting before game two of the series, televised on Fox Saturday afternoon, The Yankees lead the Mets 5-2 in games at Citi Field, have a regular season winning advantage 48-35, and are 3-1 in the four games and can clinch the season series with a win Saturday…

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alex Rodriguez, Baseball Team, Boston Red Sox, Cross Town, David Wright, Field Comments, Game Hits, Game Series, General Manager Brian Cashman, Jose Reyes, Major League Baseball, Mariano Rivera, Mets Fans, Multi Game, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Second Baseman, Seventh Inning, Six Games, Subway Series, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 2, 2011

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Clijsters Greatness Begins With Other Majors

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – If she was a football team, she would be the 49ers of the 1980s and in basketball, she would be the Celtics of the 1960s.

If she was a baseball team, she would be the Yankees of the 1950s.

But Kim Clijsters is a tennis player, and a good one, especially on the hard courts in Flushing Meadows, the surface she loves the most. And after tonight, she became a dynasty with her third US Open with a dismantling of Vera Zvonareva, 6-2 6-1, in the shortest Women’s Final since they started keeping time back in 1980 and the most lopsided final since 1976, when Chris Everett took out Evonne Goolagong, 6-3 6-0 in Forest Hills.

The match was so lopsided that the capacity crowd was trying to egg on Zvonareva just to get their money’s worth.

But the world’s favorite working mom would have none of that as she wanted to get revenge of her Quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon by Zvonareva keeping her shutout of the other three majors.

“I knew getting into the match which things were that I didn’t do well in the matches I lost,” Clijsters said. “Obviously the one at Wimbledon was, to me one of the most disappointing losses that I’ve dealt with so far in my career.”

The reason why Clijsters was so disappointed back in July was that Wimbledon was her chance to make everyone believe she was more than just a hard court specialist. Winning the US Open every year is nice and the $2.2 million payday she received will pay for young Jada’s college tuition, but to be considered one of the greats, she needs to claim the crown elsewhere, be it in Melbourne, Paris, or London.

“I mean, they all motivate you in a different way, obviously,” she said.  “Tactic‑wise you always have to adjust a little bit to each and every single one of them.

“But I think the one where I’ve felt I can do better than I have is obviously at the Australian Open.  Similar surface.  They’ve gone away from I think the Rebound Ace in the last couple years.  So I’ve always enjoyed playing there.  That’s obviously a Grand Slam I want to do well.  I want to do well in all of them, of course.

“But, um, again, you have the two European Grand Slams, which, you know, obviously Wimbledon is the one where, you know, I’m close to because I have the connection with my dad there because he enjoyed it there.  I always want to do well there, as well.

“The French Open, yeah, feels like playing in Belgium because we have so many Belgian people supporting us.  We have the history of a lot of past Belgians who have won there.  They all have a different impact on the way you feel and a positive impact, and I think that’s something I want to use when I go back there next year.”

It’s funny, though, Clijsters also has a connection with each of the Grand Slams. Australia adopted her calling the Belgian “Aussie Kim” because of her engagement to Lleyton Hewitt. Wimbledon and Roland Garros love her because she is a Belgian and almost an adoptive daughter.

And she is loved here in New York, because she is a part time New Jersey resident, as her husband Brian Lynch hails from the Garden State.

Yet, she’s only found championships by the Unisphere, because the hard courts excel her skills raising her record to 21-0 in her last three Opens.

“The surface has always been one of my favorite surfaces to play on,” Clijsters said. “I also like the blue courts, which, you know, make it a lot easier for me to see on.

“But I’ve always ‑‑ not just here in New York, but I’ve always had a very good run on the American hard courts, even when I was younger, you know, the whole US Open Series, Stanford, San Diego, LA, those kind of tournaments.

“I’ve always had a pretty good record going there.  I have a natural instinct of just adapting really well to, you know, the hard courts, which doesn’t come that easily for me when I go on different surfaces.”

Now, though, the 27 year-old needs to raise her game if she wants to be considered one of the greats. In the next year, Clijsters needs to she can win one of the other three Grand Slams. She said she wants to play through the Olympics in 2012, but after that it’s up in the air. Jada will be going to school and her priorities will change.

The clock is ticking and as with all dynasties they will come to an end someday.

Posted under Australian Open, Baseball Team, Capacity Crowd, Celtics, Chris Everett, College Tuition, Evonne Goolagong, Football Team, Forest Hills, Jada, Joe Mcdonald, Keeping Time, Kim Clijsters, New York Mets, Rebound Ace, S College, Shutout, Single One, Tennis Player, Top Story, Vera Zvonareva, Wimbledon, Working Mom

This post was written by Joe McDonald on September 12, 2010