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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MLB Needs To Step In And Take Control Of The Mets

The unsealed Madoff lawsuit against Sterling Equities shed some interesting light on the condition of the New York Mets.

The suit alleges the Wilpons ignored warnings from a number of financial experts that Madoff was a fraud. The rhetoric came from a number of different sources, including the hedge fund of Sterling Stamos and the wire house Merrill Lynch.

Yet, the Wilpons continued to invest with the Ponzi schemer, either because they didn’t care or they couldn’t stop, as their companies relied upon the Madoff returns to operate.

No matter what the reason, it has come clear the Wilpons need to take a step back from the New York Mets until this lawsuit is settled.

And if they will not do it by their own free will, then Commissioner Bud Selig must invoke the best interest of baseball clause to remove the Wilpon family from the day to day operation until this lawsuit is settled.

With the Wilpons in charge, the story will continue to be front page news on every paper in the New York area damaging the Mets and the game itself, and dominate the talk around Citi Field, where the players should not have the distraction of discussing their bosses’ matters.

We saw it this week after they Wilpons announced their intention of selling a minority stake in the club. Every day there were stories leaking about the Wilpons dealing with Madoff and the amount of debt the team carries. These will not go away and every move general manager Sandy Alderson makes will be scrutinized. ‘Did they make this trade to help the Mets or in order to pay the clawback due to the Madoff suit?’ will be the question asked by every reporter, blogger, and fan when the team makes a move.

Will Jose Reyes get sold off? Will David Wright? Forbes.com today reported the Mets need to cut a $30 million profit this year just to pay off the debt interest on Citi Field.

By many accounts, the club is over $1 billion in debt, not including SNY – which also holds debt – and many of the Wilpon credit lines have dried up. That’s why they are forced to put a portion of the club up for bid, rather a less public sale of one of their other assets.

The Wilpons maintain their innocence here and feel they are being “victimized” by Madoff victims’ trustee Irving Picard, and of course they are innocent until proven guilty. Yet, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to conduct business as usual in Queens.

Commissioner Selig needs to step in, allow the Wilpons and Saul Katz to step aside, and put the club under MLB conservatorship with Alderson taking the role as president – a position he held with the San Diego Padres – with Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi running the baseball operation.

With Alderson at the helm, getting every major move blessed by Selig, the paying public will be satisfied with the knowledge that every trade or signing will be motivated by improving the club, rather than financial issues. Although the Wilpons will still own the club, with them out of sight will move the story off the front and back pages for now. MLB will set the team’s budget and the management team can be free to improve this sorrowed franchise.

This will also allow the Wilpons to worry about the future of their families, rather than trivial matters like how much they should charge for a burger at the Shake Shack.

Once the Wilpons are cleared of the allegations or lawsuit is settled, baseball does its due diligence on the Picard Lawsuit, and minority owners are in place, then the Wilpons will be free to come back to run the club.

Or if the courts or MLB’s investigation find that the Wilpons had “unclean hands” in the Madoff matter, baseball can force a sale of the club.

And if the Wilpon finances get too out of control and a full sale if voluntary, there can be a smooth transition with MLB running the club.

It has been done before. Last season, MLB put the Texas Rangers into conservatorship while the club was up at auction. The result was a World Series appearance.

And when George Steinbrenner was suspended for a few seasons back in the early 1990s, Gene Michael was able to build the franchise in to a dynasty.

Maybe the Wilpons will follow Steinbrenner’s lead and change the way they do business during their time away. And maybe the Alderson managerial team will be able to build the Mets from within without interference from Jeffrey Wilpon.

Yet, those will be just byproducts of the situation. More importantly, the Wilpons need to concentrate on the lawsuit at hand, clearing their name, and leave the running of their beloved franchise to MLB for the time being.

Posted under Best Interest, Blogger, Clawback, Commissioner Bud Selig, David Wright, Debt Interest, Financial Experts, Front Page News, Hedge Fund, Joe Mcdonald, Jose Reyes, Merrill Lynch, Mlb, New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, Schemer, Sny, Sterling Equities, Sterling Stamos, Top Story, Wire House

This post was written by Joe McDonald on February 4, 2011

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