It's hard to fathom a sporting event that's taken place in the past century that's been more mythologized than last night's Mets-Cardinals regular season game at Citi Field.
Reading the media accounts of the game, you'd think Christ himself had made an appearance on the field, converted the heathens and hit a walkoff grand slam before ascending back into Heaven.
That didn't happen of course. Johan Santana allegedly threw the first no-hitter in the Mets' 50+ year history.
Except for the fact that he didn't.
We — well, everyone who isn't a Mets fan — all know the details by now. In the 6th inning of last night's game, Carlos Beltran doubled down the left field line. Or, he would have had a double, had umpire Adrian Johnson seen what literally everybody else who was watching that game did — the ball ricocheting off the chalk which, according to the rules, means the ball was fair and not foul.
Beltran would of course wind up grounding out and none of his teammates would find a way to get a hit off of Santana, thus paving the way for the 36th one-hitter in Mets history. At least that's the way the narrative should have unfolded.
The human element is part of what makes our favorite sport so endearing. The fact that an umpire's call — no matter how based in truth it actually is — can determine the difference between a historymaking game and a mundane one is one of the more intriguing elements of the sport.
It's also likely a part of said sport that is about to become extinct. So many people take things like this seriously, and with the amount of technology at our disposal, there's no need for egregious mistakes like this one to have any kind of impact on the history of sport. The Mets are able to say that their 8,000+ game no-hitterless streak (as nearly every. single. media account of this particular contest reminded us of) is over with, but based on the evidence that's been presented, that doesn't mean said statement is anymore true than someone asserting that the sky is pink.
Watching Mets fans defend this no-hitter on Twitter has been like watching a parent attempt to justify their kid's crayon scrawling as being museum worthy. "It still counts," they've cried like children holding on to the myth that Santa Claus will be sliding down their chimneys with a bag full of toys if only they can make it through the entire year without being a horrible person, their digital chests puffed out like a rooster's, conveniently forgetting the fact that were literally any other team but their own in a similar situation, they'd be leading the charge calling the accomplishment a fraud.
That's not to say Santana didn't pitch one hell of a game. One-hitting that Cardinals lineup is an accomplishment, especially for a guy not long off of major arm surgery. Santana deserved every bit of the whipped cream pie to the face that he got in the post-game interview.
But he didn't throw a no-hitter.