Pause for a moment and watch some (or all) of Johan Santana’s gem and savor it before moving on. Okay — the ball Beltran hit in the 6th inning was fair. No doubt about it. Third base umpire Adrian Johnson blew the call, and his terse “No comment” after he viewed the replay says it all.
That said, until robots make all the calls in major league baseball games, the occasional a bad call is just one of the breaks. No one should talk about an asterisk being pasted to Johan’s no-hitter, at least not until a committee goes back in time and reviews every no-hitter and perfect game to determine that similar calls weren’t made in those games.
I thought Carlos graciously took the high road when he shrugged and said, “I thought I was fair, but it wouldn’t have changed the game anyway.” I also like the way SportsNet New York was stand-up about the call, replaying it several times from several angles so you could clearly see the white powder flying as the ball hit the line.
I also think that those who are questioning what the ultimate price of Santana’s hitter may be have a legitimate point”: 134 pitches wasn’t just above Santana’s norm, it’s an all-time high for him. And the truth is that we won’t really know whether throwing that much had an adverse effect on his arm till his next start, which, unless there’s a rainout, will be Tuesday night at Washington.
But the cost may be even higher than that. Mike Baxter’s 7th inning smash into the outfield wall off the W.R. Mason sign (see video below) resulted, according to the latest reports, In a “dislocated joint between his right collarbone and sternum and torn rib cartilage on his right side.” It looks as if Baxter will miss about 6 weeks.
Ask yourself this question: If it was 8-0 in the 7th inning of a game in which your ace wasn’t going for a no-hitter would you have risked a crash like that? Myself, I don’t know what I would have done if I was a professional outfielder in that situation. I know damn well that if my pitcher had a no-hitter going, yes, I wouldn’t have dared not risk injury to make the play.