The No-No of No-Nos
I love no-hitters and perfect games. I have for quite some time. I crave them, to a degree. Not just because of the amazing feats that they are, but because of the extreme emotion it brings out of me. Every game, every inning, is that much more of a competition than the normal.
I started to ask friends and fellow baseball fans — in what inning does it become appropriate to “think about the distinct possibility of the success of a no-hitter or perfect game”?
A few people said the 5th, but the majority agreed on the 7th. I disagree with them both. I get excited about the possibility before the game even starts.
I know you think that’s weird, and that’s okay. I hope every game is historical. And I’d rather suffer through 9 innings of “it MIGHT happen” than 4 innings of “it’s happening already and let’s hope it keeps going”.
On the other side, when do teammates of the pitcher start to avoid him in the dugout? Is the 4th inning too early? If he blows it in the 5th, does the social teammate get blamed by the media for the offense? And when does the pitcher in question consider the circumstances?
On Tuesday night Homer Bailey threw the 1st no-hitter of the 2013 season*, and the 2nd of his career. I was sitting in a loud restaurant with 10 of my family members when I got the SportsCenter update. My brother (22) sat to my right, my baseball-loving cousin (12) to my left. We watched the final out of the game together, on my cell phone, in a dark and noisy restaurant.
It was a moment I’ll always remember – partially because my brother has very little interest in the game of baseball and yet still watched each pitch with excitement, and partially because my cousin knows so much about the game and this is the first time we’ve ever been able to share in such a monumental moment (seeing as I live 3000 miles away from him during most of the year).
During the course of our dinner we all mentioned the perfect game, and then the no-hitter, in cryptic language. I, like many other fans, am very superstitious when it comes to referring to the act by its name. Most of my friends know and respect this, while others use it to torment me. Note: I do not find it funny.
Last Friday when Matt Harvey was pitching, I explained to my brother why you can’t talk about a no-hitter. To get on my nerves, he repeatedly shouted to no one in particular “it’s a no hitter! But we can’t talk about it!” I was mildly furious. This time, with Homer Bailey, my brother was silent. It was the others at the table who mentioned it.
When do you start thinking about the no-hitter or perfect game? When should the pitcher? His teammates?
*There have only been 45 seasons (since 1900) when there has been neither a no-hitter or a perfect game thrown prior to July 2. That’s approximately 40% of seasons.
Fun Fact: There have only been 3 no hitters thrown on July 4th.