Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter for the New York Mets last Friday, the first in the franchise's history. Perhaps you heard the rumblings of rejoicing and self-satisfaction rolling out of New York over the weekend?
It's OK if you didn't -- the losing team was the Cardinals, after all, and, as the Post-Dispatch pointed out in its coverage of the game, it was only a no-hitter because an umpire messed up a call.
Call it accurate reporting or face-saving or wound-licking or whatever. Who can blame the newspaper that purports to be the voice of a city that loves its team as much as St. Louis loves the Cardinals for being a little upset about being on the losing end of a game like that and showing its dissatisfaction with the headline "NO HITTER*"?
Apparently the New York Daily News can.
The deck that ran beneath the offending headline explained the asterisk: "Santana throws gem with help of missed call." This is entirely accurate. As Derrick Goold's article pointed out, if the third-base umpire had correctly ruled Carlos Beltran's sixth-inning hit along the foul line a double, there would have been no no-hitter.
Daily News columnist Ian Powers didn't quite see it that way. In Sunday's paper, he wrote:
Johan Santana is the Prince of New York after his historic feat of pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history Friday night, but it seems the folks in St. Louis want to put their own stamp on the gem he pitched against the Cardinals....
Apparently, the Post-Dispatch couldn't locate the asterisk key while Mark McGwire was swatting 220 steroid-aided home runs while a member of the Cardinals and setting bogus records in St. Louis.
Ouch! And also, we feel we have to point out, about fifteen years out of date. (Plus, nobody knew about the steroids, at least not officially, back in 1998.)
But the slur has proven to be a great way for the P-D to fill its sports section over the past two days. Not only was there an article on the Daily News article, various writing and editing personnel were given the chance to opine on the cosmic event (OMG! a New York paper noticed us!), today the Post ran an editorial, complete with cartoon.
Now if only the Daily News would respond. Then we'd have a full-out press war! But we have a strange feeling this is the best it's going to get.