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Print wars: STL, NYC newspapers spar over Santana no-hitter

Santana No-HitterNothing more entertaining than an old-fashioned newspaper war, as St. Louis and New York City dailies fight over the legitimacy of Johan Santana’s no-hitter Friday night.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch started the kerfuffle by publishing a rather provocative headline in Saturday’s sports section, appending an asterisk to the headline (shown here). The explanation: a missed call on a Carlos Beltran liner (inaccurately called a foul ball, per instant replay) helped Santana notch the no-hitter, the first in New York Mets history.

Of course, the human factor in terms of umpiring is very much part of the game. A missed call here certainly was a great break for Santana; a missed call cost the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga a perfect game. It’s part of baseball, and most fans would rather see the umpires keep control than go to some sort of laser system a la professional tennis.

No doubt the headline was inflamatory: putting an asterisk next to a record is seen as an pissy insult, something designed to diminish Satana’s accomplishment. So it’s no surprise the New York Daily News went after the Post-Dispatch, pointing out the inappropriateness of the asterisk. Actually, it wasn’t much of a criticism, to be honest, but that didn’t stop Post-Dispatch staffers from writing several articles about the issue, defending the paper from criticism. 

So should the asterisk been employed? No. At the end of the day Santana enters the record books with a no-hitter. The Post-Dispatch was pretty obviously pandering to Cardinals Nation with the attempt to diminish Santana’s accomplishment. It was something a cheesy fan would post on a contributor network, a cheap shot more in line with bad sports-talk radio than a professional newspaper.


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