My thoughts, observations, musings and tirades related to the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Hokies (and whatever other sports-related nerves are hit).

Hit me up on Twitter, too: hokiebecca04

So long to Johan…

We found out today that Johan re-tore his shoulder muscle, which means he will probably get a second surgery and will probably be done in a Mets uniform - and maybe done with baseball for good.  Certain bloggers out there have harped for the past 10 months that the 134 pitches did him in.  I don’t 100% disagree - but a absolutely don’t agree.

This goes back to his signing - which I don’t disagree with that contract. At all.  But, he was aging, had used a lot of fuel in the tank, and has a short frame.  Also, after the first surgery, he had plenty of doctors saying he’s A-OK.  And, he pitched 5 games (I think… don’t quote me on that) after that great no-no, and had an ERA around 3.60 (again, I think).  Then he had his ankle stomped on.  As any person, when you hurt one thing that is necessary to everyday life (in Johan’s case, pitching) you start to favor its counterpart.  I blew out one knee in college and favored the other - which led to arthritis in both.  So, with a busted foot, he favored his shoulder.  And he already had major shoulder surgery.

It was a perfect storm of little things that piled up.  And, I don’t think that those 134 pitches was the tipping point.  In fact, if you take out those 134 pitches, I don’t think this DOESN’T happen.  I am just a fan, I am not a doctor (I just play one in my head), but really…. realistically… those 134 didn’t kill his shoulder.  That combined with everything else did.  And the “everything else” would have done it on its own.

So, we have 9/27/08.  That Saturday night at Shea was AMAZING.  Johan pitched on short rest and kept us in the race for the playoffs.  Like in 2007, the second to last game was phenomenal… and thanks to Johan, I was able to bring my cousin and girlfriend to their first Mets game and experience the magic that so many of us lifelong fans live for.  THAT was their first professional baseball experience.  You’re welcome Melissa and Lizzo.  You need to thank Johan for that:)

And, of course, we have our no-no.  I am not going to say much more about that, because that was magic, and beautiful, and amazing, and an out of body experience.  And for that Johan we thank you.

You have always been responsive to the fans, and that is great too.  Should you come back to baseball in uniform, I wish you the best.  If not, I can only imagine what you could do as a coach or as a “special assistant” with guys like Wheeler and Harvey and Syndergaard going forward.  Since you are done this season on the mound - I beg of you - stick around the clubhouse. You got a hefty paycheck, why not put in a little bit of side work for it.  Finish your journey in baseball making the rest of your kin better - as you always done.

The GIBBY’s are held every year and voted on by fans - without considering league affiliation or position. The Mets are out there a bunch - DW for Defensive Player, Tim Byrdack/Little Jerry for Oddity, Johan for the no-no, and RA Dickey in a variety of pitching and performance categories.  There are a few I want you to especially consider:

Mike Baxter’s catch to save the no-no for Play of the Year.  Yes, saving a no-hitter is a feat on its own, but this kid is “The Pride of Whitestone” who spend his youth rooting for the Mets.  Then, he fills in for JASON BAY, and saves the team’s first no-hitter.  You don’t get more great or amazin’ than that.

Sean Marshall for set-up man.  The Reds’ reliever is a member of Manchester High School’s Class of 2000.  I graduated with Sean and his twin brother Brian, who is also a baseball player.  I always talk about how my time in Chesterfield was a roller coaster ride - lots of highs and lows (and I feel like as I got older, much more lows) - but this is something that makes me really proud to say I am pseudo “from” there. 

Hi57ory, the Kid and Some Angels

Last night happened with Murph and Lindsey calling the play-by-play; Gil looking over TC’s shoulder with a scuffed ball and a whisper to keep Johan in the game; Tug chanting “ya gotta believe” from the bullpen; Mrs. Payson sitting behind the dugout with a smile full of love and devotion on her face; and The Kid calling the pitches.  I said this year we need to win one for the Kid - but I think he gave us this great miracle. Last night Johan had 8Ks, and the Mets had 8 hits and 8 homeruns.

I was at the Zac Brown concert last night, faithfully checking my phone (whenever it had service… SPAC is like Citi in that way).  All of a sudden, I feel my phone vibrate over and over and over - meaning I just got a ton of texts.  I look down to find that Johan had done it. 8,020 games and 50+ years - and Johan did it after a lost season and a shoulder injury.  I jumped, I screamed, I hollared, and I scared the crap out of everyone around me.  A couple standing next to us vaguely heard what I said; when I confirmed with them that we had a no no, the three of us flipped out.  Amazin. 

Fans don’t need to be there to share in the joy. We FEEL it.  I knew something was gonna happen last night - for good or for bad - which is why I kept checking the Twitter feed and text updates.  And sure enough, greatness arrived in the form of a “NO-HAN” text update from Twitter.  I shouted it as loud as I good.  When we got back to the car, I started responding, and reading, and downloading the audio that Mets Police had already posted.  Then I stopped. And I cried.  Tears of joy; tears of relief; tears because this is a life long love affair that I (along with all my fellow fans) have had with our New York Metropolitans (and really, our fellow fans).

People mocked us true faithful fans. We are the faithful.  We love our boys, and how this team has played, and, you know what- these guys love us just as much in return.  We are all invested together.  Hearing Gary’s call on the strike out - and Ron’s yelp in the background - was awesome; Howie’s great “put it in the books - the HISTORY BOOKS” was just as awesome.   You can hear the emotion in all of it - not just the historical nature of what happened as a baseball observer, but the fact that those guys have just as much invested in this as we do, and as the players do.

We shared in Justin Turner’s enthusiasm when he strolled out with his boot on to pie Johan - his typical role after clutch performances. We tasted the champagne showered on Johan in the dugout.  We were dancing to the music blaring out of the clubhouse as Johan thanked his team for making history with him.  We cried Terry’s tears and share his sentiment that Johan is his hero. 

To be honest, the one place I would have rather been last night, is sitting in the living room of 117 Centre Avenue watching the game with Boppy in the recliner, and Nana dozing on the couch.  To share such a great memory with them, as I did for so many other amazing Mets days.  Maybe Nana was up there, too - sitting right next to Mrs. Payson, both in fancy new hats and dresses.