Today is game 162 and all sorts of things hang in the balance for some teams this evening - division titles, wild cards, triple crowns, etc. Unfortunately, this does not apply to my Mets. I am currently watching the bottom of the 8th of their last game (and, go figure, the bullpen is doing everything they can to give this game away) and I am ruminating on what started off so sweet and how it all turned so sour. For the 6th consecutive year, there will be no playoffs; for the 4th consecutive year, they will finish below .500. I long for the days of 2007 and 2008 when this team was choking away big leads - but at least mattered - in September/October, as opposed to the lifeless and meaningless late season games I have forced myself to watch for months at the end of the season. This team hit a high point of 30-23 on June 3rd (and then they wore their black jerseys for the first and only time this season - draw your own conclusions...) and were still 46-40 at the all star break, then everything fell apart. If the human combustion brigade that is the Mets bullpen can hold on to this one, they will finish 74-88, fourth place in the NL East.
Putting it mildly, 2012 has been a let down but there has been a few highlights and even a couple of reasons to look forward to the future. Matt Harvey looks like the goods. David Wright carried this team for the first three months and will hopefully be resigned before too long. Ike Davis overcame a disastrous start to finish with 32 homers. RA Dickey, besides having a name that my inner fifth grader loves to say out loud, won 20 games and just might win the Cy Young award. But the true highlight of the season came right near that aforementioned high water mark on June 1st when Johan Santana pitched the first no hitter in New York Mets history.
My excitement over this achievement was palpable and immediate. Sure, it was as fluky as a no hitter itself that the Mets hadn't pitched one in 50 years and 8020 games, but this moment was marvelous for me and all Mets fans. I was recently searching eBay for a particular card and somehow came across this one. When I saw it, I had to have it. Had to...
It is from 2012 Topps Triple Threads. The one I came across was actually a shinier version (though this one is plenty shiny, the scan does it no justice) and numbered to /27. But the bidding for that one got out of hand ($43 worth of hand) so I searched for another one. I eventually found this one and after nursing my bid for a few hours at the end, I was able to procure it for $15.55 (plus shipping of course). I hadn't obsessively watched an eBay auction like that in a long time. It was well worth it, as this card is a glorious tribute to that June evening.
When I got the card, I found out it had an interesting back:
It had a second cut out that commemorated Johan's Cy Young Awards. OK, that's pretty cool. In fact, it is the same jersey, as this ingenious photo will show:
Of course, as we have found out, the little disclaimers on the backs of cards aren't worth the paper they are printed on. But I don't care in this instance. This is an awesome card that commemorates a magical moment for my team. A moment that will long outlive the disappointment of this season.