Hate to rain on the parade, but Johan Santana‘s no-hitter came at a cost.
First, there is the issue of the 134 pitches thrown by Santana’s surgically repaired shoulder, using damaging mechanics. Will he be able to bounce back? Did pitching far beyond fatigue cause any lasting damage to his arm? We’ll find out soon enough.
Second, there is Mike Baxter, who literally ran through a wall to preserve the no-no. In the process, he injured his ribs and collarbone, and will be out six weeks.
Finally, there is Ramon Ramirez, whose enthusiasm during the postgame celebration caused him to strain his hamstring; he’s also on his way to the DL.
Ten years from now, no one will remember nor care about the fallout from this historical event. In fact, it’s likely that a year from now, no one will remember nor care — unless, of course, it leads to another severe injury to Santana.
You can’t fault Terry Collins for leaving Santana in the game that long — Mets fans would have hung Collins and/or publicly stoned him had he taken out Johan in, say, the 7th inning. Similarly, you can’t fault Santana for “going for the gold” and finishing out the first no-no in Mets history. Certainly, you can’t fault Baxter for his all-out effort without regard to his physical safety — it’s exactly what many of us fans value over all else. As for Ramirez, well, that’s up to you — it was a random, unlucky occurrence.
But in the end, the first no-hitter in Mets history came with an immediate price — and we’ll see what happens with Johan’s arm (hopefully nothing). That said, was the price worth the product? What if Johan never pitches effectively again? Would it still be worth it? I’m not so sure; if the price resulted in a pennant or a World Championship, I’d say “of course” but for a milestone event — well, I’d have preferred there not to be such a steep price. But that’s me — what about you? Answer in the comments.