Remember the old commercial from the 1990’s, where Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were hitting the gym so that they could start cranking out home runs? Remember the slogan from that ad, “Chicks dig the long ball”? Well, there is a new slogan that is defining the 2012 baseball fan.
“Real fans dig the no-hitter.”
We are not quite halfway through the 2012 season, and already we have our fifth no-hitter of the season, including 2 perfect games after Matt Cain spun the perfecto on Wednesday night against Houston. Cain’s masterpiece included two outstanding catches in the outfield and an amazing 14 strike-outs in a 125 pitch effort.
But while the perfect game is an achievement unto itself, the true wonder is in the shear amount of no-hitters being thrown this season. With 5 at this point in the year, fans should easily see the 2010 of six passed, which also included 2 perfect games, not to mention the record of seven set in 1990.
And 1990 really is the point of comparison here. That season was amazing for no-hitters, as a combined no-hitter, Randy Johnson throw his first one, Nolan Ryan throws his 6th, and Dave Stewart and Fernando Valenzuela become the only players to throw one on the same day. That season, there had been 4 thrown by June 11th, with Stewart and Valenzeula performing their trick by the 29th.
That said, we are currently 14 days into the month of June and with five under our belts, the current pace would dictate that we could see the first season to ever have double-digits in the no-hitters. As a matter of fact, we may even see a sixth one if the Mets win their appeal of a scorers ruling that allowed the one and only hit against R.A. Dickey on Wednesday night. The chances of an overturned ruling resulting in a no-hitter are slim, but given the umpiring on two of this season’s feats, it isn’t out of the question. If MLB overturns it and awards Dickey the no-no, we’ll have six on the season, including the second time there have been two thrown on the same day.
Add that to the knowledge that the Mets, who had gone 50-years, 1 month, and 20 days without throwing a no-hitter, would have two in the span of just 12 days time, and that both would come with controversy in regards to rulings defining them.
So with all this speculation and talks about records falling, someone has to step up and throw at least three more right? So who does it?
Maybe it is Chris Sale of the White Sox, who has been absolutely filthy on the mound this season and is second in the league in ERA.
Maybe the next one will come in Washington with Stephen Strasbrug and Gio Gonzalez making line-ups look like mud. Gonzalez leads all of MLB with a .168 batting average against and Strasburg leads in strike-outs. They play in the perfect park for it, and what better way to cap off the best season in the history of the organization.
Maybe the next sweepstakes winner will be Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs. How much more fitting would it be for a pitcher toiling for the worst team in baseball to come out and shock the world?!
The point is, we don’t know if or where the next no-hitter will come from. But you can be assured that Twitter will be abuzz with #nohitter and #perfectgame hashtags anytime a pitcher takes one into the fifth, and we’ll all be watching carefully.
Because it seems like every time you blink, someone else has gone back out and done it again.
Year of the pitcher indeed.