Tuesday, July 02, 2013

No Hitter

Homer Bailey celebrates after throwing a no-hitter (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
There's something about the drama of those words: "no hitter" or, better, "perfect game" to get a fans' blood going.

It's the moment when we're reminded that baseball, in this rather desperate time for America's Pastime, still kicks ass.

A quiet, otherwise lame night got good when I was a note pop up that Reds pitcher Homer Bailey had thrown a no-hitter through eight innings against the Giants. Quickly I got the TV onto the MLB Network, where Matt Vasgersian and Sean Bailey were holding court.

I also quickly alerted friends and social media types alike.

In this era, the beauty of technology is that, with a subscription, one can watch the broadcasts of other outlets.  I decided against the Reds call to watch the Giants feed.  As Bailey completed his second career no-hitter, Vasgersian gave an excitable call, while the Giants broadcasters were respectful, deferential, but also nearly depressed.

I also heard the call of Thom Brennaman and, giving credit where it is due, it was solid.  The best of the three that I heard.

Anyway, I love no-hitters and perfecto's.  For one thing, they're rare.  There have been only 23 perfect games since 1880.  While no-hitters are much more common, they're still great fun to watch.

Suddenly, quite often, one stops rooting for their team and begins pulling for the pitcher, even if it's against them*.

*This phenomenon does not apply to me.  I was at Yankee Stadium as Bartolo Colon held the Bombers to one hit (Luis Polonia, one out, bottom of the eighth) as he struck out 13.  I also sat, sickened, in front of my TV as 31* different Astros pitchers held the Yankees hitless in 2003.  So, no, I don't root in that case.

*Slight exaggeration, of course.  It might have been five.

Oh, but I rooted tonight.  Why not? I began to get into each pitch.  Each swing brought a reaction.

I've mentioned it before, and I'll say it again.  I once attended a no-hitter, as Jim Abbott held the Indians hitless in 1993.  I stayed calm, but aware of it as I kept score.  Abbott was good through five.  Six.  Seven.  Oh damn, hitless through eight.

To the ninth.

And done.  I rarely cheered as loudly as I did at that moment - an explosion of relief, as the tension built.  I was actually hoarse.

It's rare. It's drama.  It's something no other sport can match in this regard.

It was fun to watch tonight.

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