Time would possibly heal every thing, nevertheless it doesn’t change every thing. Ten years later, Terry Collins nonetheless made the correct choice to maintain Johan Santana on the mound for what was extra of an exorcism than a baseball sport.
100 and thirty-four pitches. “Oh please,” Collins stated when the person who sits in his previous chair, Buck Showalter, turned the topic to the well-known pitch rely towards the Cardinals. The previous Mets supervisor nonetheless recoils from the reminiscence, even when that night time, June 1, 2012, stands tall beside 1986 and 1969 among the many best reminiscences in franchise historical past.
The person within the dugout had a alternative — defend the $137.5 million ace and two-time Cy Younger Award winner who had missed the earlier season after main shoulder surgical procedure, or pursue a no-hitter after the Mets had performed 8,019 video games with out one.
Santana needed the ball. He demanded the ball.
“You’re my hero,” Collins informed him.
Santana rewarded his religion with two outs within the ninth, recovering from a 3-0 rely to strike out David Freese on his signature changeup and, finally, touchdown each males inside Citi Subject on Tuesday night time for an anniversary price celebrating to the fullest, regardless of the questions it nonetheless evokes.
Former Mets pitcher Johan Santana, proper, and former catcher Josh Thole pose for photographers. AP
At 33, Santana threw 49 extra innings that season, after which by no means pitched once more. He would endure a second main surgical procedure on his left shoulder 29 months after the primary. He would try a comeback with Showalter’s Orioles in 2014 that ended the second he tore his Achilles tendon throughout prolonged spring coaching.
“Johan, you bought an inning in you tonight?” Showalter requested him throughout Tuesday’s pregame information convention, with Santana standing at the back of the room.
Johan Santana’s son threw out the primary pitch tonight, after which Johan posed for an image with the 5 Mets that threw a mixed no-hitter final month vs. Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/3ISY5cyaYy
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 1, 2022
“I want,” the previous Met stated.
“Thanks for that provide, and that honor, however I might need one pitch.”
“I do know you bought one that can nonetheless work,” Showalter responded.
“I believe I’ll use it tonight previous to the sport,” Santana stated.
He didn’t, because it turned out. Santana gave the ceremonial honor to his son, Johan Jr., then watched Showalter’s staff proceed its sheer dominance of the NL East with a 10-0 thrashing of the Nationals. It was becoming that Santana was again at Citi Subject within the firm of Showalter, the final supervisor to present him an opportunity.
It was additionally becoming that Santana was there to reassure Collins, the one Met who regarded positively haunted over the ultimate innings of that ceaselessly sport.
“I give it some thought on a regular basis,” the previous supervisor stated. “I’ve had some nightmares, however I’ve had some good goals, too.”
Seated to his proper, Santana wrapped his left arm round Collins and patted him on the again.
“Hear, let me inform you one thing … you’re going to have higher sleep any longer,” Santana stated. “It’s previous and we’re right here and no one’s going to take that away from us.”
Johan Santana waves to the followers.USA TODAY Sports activities
“That’s for positive,” Collins responded.
The supervisor was requested whether or not the good thing about hindsight would compel him to vary the selection he made that night time, when he surrendered to the second and stored his man on the market, the implications be damned.
“I’d make the identical choice,” answered Collins, who had established a 115-pitch restrict earlier than the sport. “Even that night time … I felt that he deserved the chance to attempt to get it, due to who he’s and what he stands for. I assumed the folks that had been within the stands … they deserved to see that and have that chance.
“So it’s simple to say, ‘No, I wouldn’t do it once more,’ and I do know that in all probability harm him a bit bit afterwards, due to throwing that many pitches. However I’ve come to understand I in all probability would have achieved precisely the identical factor.”
Collins did the correct factor, and the one factor he may have achieved, despite the fact that he agonized over his alternative and confessed the next day that it “went towards about every thing I stand for.”
The Wilpon Period Mets had been lengthy outlined as a franchise that didn’t go for it, and as quickly as pitching coach Dan Warthen knowledgeable a surprised Collins in the course of the sport that no Met had ever thrown a no-hitter, Collins knew he needed to, nicely, go for it.
So did Santana, an old-school warrior who had claimed the final victory ever at Shea Stadium and had quickly saved the 2008 Mets by delivering a 117-pitch, complete-game victory over the Marlins on three days’ relaxation after throwing a season-high 125 pitches — all on a torn meniscus in his knee.
Terry Collins hugs Johan Santana after his no-hitter.REUTERS
No, Collins wasn’t ever taking the ball out of his hand. “I knew I used to be going to have some arguments with him on the mound, within the dugout, within the car parking zone,” Santana recalled. “I had a chance to do one thing very particular, and I simply needed to complete it.”
When he completed it, when catcher Josh Thole rushed out to embrace him, the followers’ roar made the ace really feel like he’d simply received the World Collection. Earlier than returning to the Citi Subject mound Tuesday night time along with his household, sporting his No. 57, Santana reminded everybody that his shoulder by no means felt proper your complete 2012 season, and that he didn’t suppose Collins’ choice ended his profession.
The pitcher stated he had no regrets, and after some prodding the supervisor stated the identical. Terry Collins shouldn’t endure any extra nightmares.
Ten years later, the exorcism feels full.