Johan Santana is one of my favorite Mets of all time.
I understand where people come from saying that we didn’t get enough out of that lengthy and long contract, but I really don’t care. I am extremely happy that Omar Minaya made the move and brought over what turned out to be one of my favorite players ever.
As expected, the Mets declined the $25 million option Minaya negotiated back in 2008, buying out the year for $5 million instead. I had thought there was a chance that Santana and the Mets could come together on an incentive-laden deal for 2014 as he works his way back from another shoulder surgery (and maybe there still is one.) Johan, however, tweeted what sounded like a finality the other day:
Thank you all @mets fans for all the support, we had some memorable moments that i’ll never forget…keep believing!!!
— El Gocho believe it! (@johansantana) November 2, 2013
Johan Santana gets it. He understands what it means to be a Mets fan. He has used the word, “believe” on numerous occasions, clearly paying homage to what he knows is a rallying cry for this franchise. After he threw the no-hitter, he kept saying, “Believe it!!!” A fun twist on the 40-year-old term. He has had to believe, because his career as a Met has had its ebbs and flows just like the 50-year history of this team.
It may not have come with the championships we had hoped for, but it has been so much fun watching Johan Santana pitch in the Mets uniform. What an artist.
Here are some of my favorite Santana memories (or at least the ones I can find on Youtube and MLB.com.)
(Why they didn’t include the last out and and his hand pump into the glove I have no idea. Looks like it was mostly just the strikeouts. Stupid.)
Anyway, moving on…
A start before the no-no, I was at this brilliant game from Johan…
And then, of course, on June 1, 2012, I was ever so lucky enough to get tickets from my friend in ballpark operations, whose parents normally used them on Friday nights…
Thank you for the memories, Johan Santana. Here’s to you, and best of luck out there in the baseball ether.
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