Watching the Mets being no-hit with my Giants-fan grandpa


The ability of the Mets’ pitching staff to strike out sixty-six opposing batters on their recent road trip to San Diego and Phoenix, and the subsequent 66% discount on tickets, indirectly led to field level seats for me and my Giants-fan grandpa, from which we saw the Mets fail to get a hit against the Giants’ Chris Heston.

My grandpa, born and raised in the Bronx, grew up a Giants fan and did not switch allegiances to the orange and blue in 1962.

Last night, after walking through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, and pointing out the Dodgers photos encircling the room, we walked into the Mets Hall of Fame. In one of the display cases that houses photos of the three ballparks of the Mets, along with the baseballs used in the last game at the Polo Grounds, the first game at Shea Stadium, the last game at Shea , and the first game at Citi Field, were photos of the three ballparks.

My grandpa pointed to the outfield bleachers of a black-and-white, and relatively blurry, photograph of the Polo Grounds. That’s where he used to sit when he was a kid and went to games with his friends. He saw Willie Mays’ first home run. It was against Warren Spahn, at the Polo Grounds, in May of 1951. He was not yet 13 years old.

As usual, there were plenty of Giants fans at Citi Field. One group of Giants fans wore matching orange shirts—a mini 7 Line Army. My grandpa and I sat in section 106—down the right field line, in the corner, right in front of Curtis Granderson.

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The ball seemed to never leave the infield in the beginning of the game. Mets fans around me continuously grumbled when the Mets’ infielders couldn’t turn two. Grumbled again when the Giants’ infielders were able to stop any ground ball from rolling past them, before firing to first.

There were some Giants fans in my sections, but they were relatively quiet. Only at a few points of the game were there battling “Let’s Go Giants” and “Let’s Go Mets” chants, mostly started by the Giants fans in the matching orange shirts.

Noah Syndergaard didn’t seem to have great control when the game began, throwing a lot of pitches and working slowly. In the middle of the first inning I was prepared for a long game, an especially long one compared to the 2-hour-40-minute games that the Mets have had a lot of this season. But it wasn’t until about the fifth inning when I looked up at the scoreboard and realized the Mets didn’t yet have a hit. And the game was going by quickly. But a no-hitter wasn’t on my mind—it was only the fifth inning.

It’ll probably be someone funny to break up the no-no. Someone funny. Maybe Eric Campbell. Darrell Ceciliani. Maybe a Ruben Tejada home run. That’s what I thought.

But during the seventh inning stretch, as I was waiting for a shirt to be launched at me from a rocket to the tune of “Luna Mezzo Mare,” I realized I wouldn’t really have a problem with the Mets being no-hit. If I knew there was no chance of this offense winning the game, then why not witness history, especially if it would be my first no-hitter in person?

Though I was told that loud shouts and cheers for the Giants were heard on the television broadcast, the scene at the ballpark—at least from where I was sitting—was relatively calm. Probably because the Mets’ offense was as far from threatening as it could have been. The probability that a Met would hit a ball hard, past the infield, just didn’t seem high. And by that, I mean it felt impossible.

During the seventh inning, my grandpa told me he had a feeling there would be a no-hitter. I said the Mets should at least bring in Bartolo Colon to try and get a hit. They didn’t. (Thanks again, Terry). It got a little chilly, and I reached into my bag to get out my Josh Thole sweatshirt. Maybe putting the sweatshirt on would change the outcome of the game—make the Mets get a hit. (Hey, I know I said I wouldn’t mind witnessing history, but as a fan you always want your team to win).

After the first out in the bottom of the eighth, two Giants fans sitting in front of me clasped their hands closer to their face. After the second out, they looked at each other and smiled, but stayed quiet. They made fists in anticipation. Campbell grounded to short for the third out of the eighth.

By the bottom of the ninth, it seemed as if everybody around me had their phone out, recording every at-bat to try to get footage of the Mets’ first hit of the game. A Mets fan in front of me pressed the record button right before each pitch fired by Heston, and if the pitch was fouled off, swung at and missed, or was a ball outside the zone, he deleted the video and set up the phone’s video camera again, trying to capture the home team’s first hit.

After Anthony Recker was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Danny Muno came up to bat. A Mets fan to my right said, “Oh fantastic, Danny Muno” with the perfect mixture of sarcasm, subtlety, and desperation to make me laugh out loud. Maybe Muno would be that funny person to break up the no-no.

He wasn’t.

Granderson struck out looking for the second out.

Everybody stood up for the final batter. Giants fans quietly anticipating an historic moment. Mets fans partially still grumbling, partially also anticipating history.

There was still a calmness in the ballpark. Tejada struck out looking. Heston had completed his no-hitter.

Yes, the Giants all congregated on the mound and congratulated Heston, but the celebration didn’t seem as over-the-top as I had expected. There wasn’t jumping. Just handshakes, hugs, baseball fans watching and taking in the history. Another entry for the baseball books.

Sixty-four years after watching Mays hit his first home run, my grandpa saw his team throw a no-hitter.