There’s been a lot of griping coming across my radar lately about people ruining a pitcher’s chance at a no-hitter. In particular,my friend Dave Sims,who is one of the play-by-play announcers for the Seattle Mariners,has had the public finger pointed at him a couple of times. Dave is adamant that he doesn’t believe in not mentioning no-hitters when he’s on the air,which hasn’t been terribly popular with fans of course,and he was even called out in the Arizona Republic for breaking the code.
It seems as if fans become so overzealous to see a no-hitter that when it doesn’t happen,they quickly look to pin the blame on anybody they deem even remotely reasonable. This is absurdly silly to me.
Here’s how I look at it:say you go to a game with 25,000 people in attendance,not counting the players,umpires,staff,broadcasters,and so on. Out of all those people,who has the gravitas to affect the events on the field? And why aren’t you pointing your finger at them?
What if some guy up in the nosebleeds with a gut that makes him look 29 months pregnant and has been pounding overpriced beers since getting off work looks up at the scoreboard between bites of his second hot dog and says “holy heck,this feller’s ain’t gave up a hit yet!”Could he be responsible?
What about a new usher who is unaware of the code and mentions it to a fan? They’re employed by the team,so maybe they have the ear of the baseball gods.
Of course,the broadcaster is a popular target,as they are behind the microphone and having their voice carried out via radio,television and internet to the masses who couldn’t make it to the game. They’re also generally employed by the team,so maybe it’s their combination of proximity to the game and the reach of their voices that is enough to disrupt the harmony of a no-hitter in progress.
Or what about the team being no-hit? If logic held,wouldn’t they all be talking about it in hopes of breaking it up? I wouldn’t be talking about anything but the no-hitter happening in hopes of notching our first hit. And that goes for their broadcasters,ushers,fans and heart-attacks-waiting-to-happen in the bleachers.
Truth be told,I don’t buy it. Any of it.
Now,I wouldn’t be one to talk about a no-hitter if I were playing in the game,unless of course I were on the opposite team. I generally don’t talk about them if I’m watching a game,but that’s just the tradition of the code manifesting itself after years of being around baseball. I don’t really believe it,but it still crops up every once in a while.
The truth of the matter is the only people that are truly deserving of pointing the finger at are the ones between the white lines on the field. If a pitcher leaves a pitch up in the zone and a batter turns it into a hit,then it’s the pitcher’s fault the no-hitter fell apart,or the batter’s fault if you want to place blame on a person for doing his job. Likewise,if a fielder doesn’t get to a ball,then it’s the GM’s fault for signing him or the manager’s fault for playing him in place of a better defender.
The let-down of seeing a no-hitter broken up is certainly understandable,as it’s one of the rare events that fans ever get to see. But to place the blame for the demise of a work in progress is simply not becoming of a true baseball fan. The true fan appreciates the wonderful performance put forth and hopes to see an even better one the next time they go to the ballpark.