Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not that I saw the game at all, but...

I didn't hear a thing about Jon Lester's no-hitter against the Royals last night until it was almost over (I was at work, a loss for the Omaha Royals). In the 7th, I heard it was 7-0 Boston, and that Alex Gordon was on deck. In the 9th, one of my superiors, Adam, warned me he was going to tell me something that I wasn't going to like. "Looks like Lester is an out away from no-hitting your Royals."

Dang, he was right. I didn't like it. But the weird thing is, I don't hate it either. There's something about no-hitters that I love more deeply than most things in baseball. It's one of those rare things that makes the Baseball Tonight crew shut up about home runs for once and celebrate pitching. It's the way a defense bands together to make impossible plays for their pitcher when they realize there's a shot at history on the line. It's the way there's always a cool story behind the guy throwing it, a story that's a little bigger than sportswriters searching for an angle.

Look back at last year, at Clay Buchholz's second big league start. I'm not a Red Sox fan by any means, but that video gives me chills every time, makes me root for the defense to not mess it up, makes my jaw hit the floor every time Dustin Pedroia makes the diving stop and rolls to fire it to first in time. It's beyond baseball, I think. It has to be a little bit of magic.

That magic is why I can't be too pissed off that the Royals were no-hit last night. Sure, I'd rather have had KC win, but it's kind of cool to see a young guy say "F*** you" to cancer and do something like this. It's cool to see any kind of guy do something like this.

As usual, JoePo and Brian Bannister said it best, so I'll let them finish this out:
There’s no manual telling a player what to say after getting no-hit. There’s no model for how to feel. Mostly, there’s silence. Pitcher Brian Bannister dresses in front of his locker. He watched the whole thing from the dugout, of course, and he heard the excitement of the crowd, and he understood the magic of the moment, and he felt the agony with his teammates. Brian is never at a loss for words. Now, though, he says he doesn’t really know what to say.

“If someone had to throw a no-hitter against us, I’m glad it was Jon,” he finally says. “That’s just an amazing story after what he has gone through. As a fellow pitcher, I can see just how amazing this is. It hurts to get no-hit, but you think about what he did. You know, that’s why I love this game.”

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