The combination of Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough just fell three outs short of a combined perfect game.
And I didn’t see any of it.
You see, I started the afternoon doing chores around the house and following the game on Gameday. Once the game got past the sixth inning, I COULDN’T turn on the television because, as any rational person knows, the behavior of those of us following at home absolutely has an impact on the the play on the field.
As it turned out it was “only” a 4-1 win.
But for eight innings and 24 batters, our pitching duo was perfect. Completing this perfect game would have been a wonderful celebration of Rays innovation, with their most frequent “opener,” Stanek, partnering with their most frequently used “bulk guy,” Yarbrough, to make history.
For many years one of baseball’s unwritten rules was that the words “no hitter” or “perfect game” could not be uttered when one of these pitching performances was underway. Baseball media and indeed MLB itself have long since abandoned this tradition - MLB slaps a PERFECT GAME alert on their scoreboard as early as the sixth inning, and even Vin Scully was known to have eschewed the embargo on uttering those words (in fairness it must be hard to broadcast a game and not be able to tell people what is going on).
I, however, adhere passionately to this vow of silence, and I cringe when I see all those “no hitter” tweets and announcements (just as I am likely to chant “no hitter no hitter” when the Rays are on the receiving end and I’m trying to make it go away). As a lover of bat flips, shifts, and imaginative bullpen usage I think it’s safe to say that the no-hitter silence tradition is the only old school baseball practice I like, and curses to anyone whose loose lips jinxed today’s game.
How did the rest of you handle today’s flirtation with perfection?