A graphic displays New York Mets' Johan Santana on an...

A graphic displays New York Mets' Johan Santana on an outfield video screen after he pitched the first no-hitter in Mets' history in a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in New York. Helped by an umpire's missed call and an outstanding catch in left field, the Mets defeated the Cardinals 8-0. (June 1, 2012) Credit: AP

It was a night for and about Mets fans as much as it was about Johan Santana, a fact illustrated in a sweet media moment in the SNY booth Friday.

Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez were reviewing Santana's historic no-hitter, with Cohen recalling five decades of good and great Mets pitchers who never accomplished the feat. "Eight thousand-some games later, the night finally has arrived,'' he said, "and it's almost surreal.''

He added this: "And you know what I'm sitting here thinking? I'm sitting here thinking in the booth: I can't wait to hear Howie Rose's call, because, you know, Howie has lived with the same memories that I have.''

Just as Cohen looked forward to hearing the take of his longtime radio partner and a fellow fan of 1960s vintage, so too were Mets fans across the globe sharing the moment with friends and family.

Soon Cohen joined Rose in the WFAN booth and relive the moment on the air. Later, as he drove home, Cohen still sounded jazzed by the happy recaps as he relived them on the phone.

"For millions of Mets fans, this was an incredibly important night,'' he said, a celebration of finally erasing "this odd fact, this quirky, strange fact'' that had come to symbolize the franchise's many frustrations.

One reason Cohen looked forward to hearing the radio call was that he knew Rose would, could and should paint the picture with words, while on TV, Cohen had to focus on the basics and realize "it's all about the pictures.''

"He struck him out!'' Cohen said after the final out. "It has happened! In their 51st season, Johan Santana has thrown the first no-hitter in New York Mets history!''

After a long pause he added, "This has been a franchise known for its pitchers, from Seaver to Koosman to Gooden to Darling to Cone, and on and on and on. But it has taken until this day, June the 1st, 2012, for the Mets to have a pitcher throw a no-hitter. His name is Johan Santana.''

Rose's call, which SNY graciously played during its postgame show: "The payoff pitch on the way! Swung on and missed, strike three! He's done it! Johan Santana has pitched a no-hitter!

"In the 8,020th game in the history of the New York Mets, they finally have a no-hitter, and who better to do it than Johan Santana, and what a remarkable story.''

(Rose's first-year partner, Josh Lewin, another lifelong Mets fan, was at his daughter's high school graduation in Texas, the first game this season he has missed.)

Cohen spoke openly during the game about the unfolding no-hitter; Rose opted to avoid using that term for fear of jinxing Santana.

SNY's thorough chronicling of the big event included video of Santana addressing teammates in the locker room.

"Tonight we all made history,'' he said. "That's all that matters. You guys made it happen. I was just doing my job and having fun. Yeah, baby!''

SNY announcers covered key story lines that included Santana's ballooning pitch count and a blown foul/fair call. As Cohen noted, the incident could lead to calls for expanded use of replay review.

But on this night no Mets fan was inclined to put an asterisk next to Santana's accomplishment -- even if the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did so in a headline in Saturday's newspaper.

Cohen said he didn't spend much time late in the game being nervous or thinking about what he might say. Why? Simple: He grew up a Mets fan and thus never believed it would happen. Until it did.


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