A GRIP ON SPORTS
Why is a no-hitter considered such a big deal in baseball? Just because a pitcher, and the defense behind him, was able to keep the other team without a hit doesn't mean he pitched all that well. Or even won the game, for that matter. Read on.
• Our thoughts on no-hitters were triggered by Tim Lincecum's no-no for the Giants last night. And for those of you wondering, no, if the no-hitter had been pitched by a Mariner or a Dodger, I wouldn't feel any differently. A perfect game is just what its name implies, perfect. There is no way to lose a perfect game, though Harvey Haddix did lose after throwing 12 perfect innings. But, because games don't count until one team wins or loses and Haddix's Pirate teammates didn't score either, the gem was spoiled when Haddix cracked in the 13th. There have been 23 official perfect games in major league history, which, after 135 years of baseball, shows you how rare they are. But no-hitters seem to occur on a monthly basis. There have been more than 280 of them tossed since professional baseball began oh so long ago. And there would be more except major league baseball decided in 1991 that official games, games with a winner and a loser, would not be considered a no-hitter unless that official game went nine full innings. Rain-shortened no-hitters were dropped from the record books, though the score still stands. An official game but not an official no-hitter, a decision I still don't understand. It's all part of why I'm not all that impressed by a no-hitter. The other part is personal connections. I caught a no-hitter back in high school. We lost, 1-0. Our pitcher walked one hitter. He was sacrificed to second. Then, with two outs, he decided to try to steal third. My throw arrived in time but was a bit high and the third baseman, who shall remain nameless to protect his reputation, lost it in the lights from the neighboring park (this was high school in the early '70s, remember). The ball nailed him right in the head, bounding high and in the air into short left field. The runner scored. We lost. So much for the joy of a no-hitter. Another member of that high school pitching staff was my neighbor and former Mariner, Matt Young. The lefthander went on to have a 10-year major league career, winning 55 games. One of those, however, wasn't his eight-inning no-hitter. He tossed that in 1992 while a member of the Boston Red Sox. But seven walks did him in as the Indians won 2-1. The game was in Cleveland, so Young didn't have to pitch the ninth. Thus, though he didn't allow a hit in all the innings needed in a regulation baseball game, Young's game isn't on major league baseball's official list of no-hitters.
• WSU: I was a little disappointed yesterday when I couldn't find the mailbag at ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog when I was doing my web browsing. But it's there now and I can pass it along.
• Indians: The Indians took their uniforms, gloves and hats along with them to Oregon this week, but may have left their bats at home. They lost 6-0 last night to Salem-Keiser.
• Shock: The long week spent in Florida proved productive for the Shock as their defense turned up the heat on former Spokane quarterback Kyle Rowley and the Jacksonville Storm, winning 62-40. Jim Meehan has more on the win in this blog post. ... The win allows the Shock to stay ahead of San Jose for the third seed in the West, albeit via the tiebreaker. The Sabercats routed Pittsburgh 78-20 on Saturday night.
• Golf: Jason Humphrey will try to do something today he couldn't last year, close the deal at the Lilac City Invitational. Humphrey leads by a stroke heading into today's final round. Jim Meehan has the story.
• Mariners: Give Felix Hernandez a couple runs and he's usually golden. Except for that recent game in Anaheim when he couldn't hold a seven-run lead. That was in his mind last night when he faced the Angels in Safeco. He didn't want to give them anything. So he didn't. The Mariners didn't build a seven-run lead but the six they scored was plenty in the 6-0 win. Justin Smoak supplied a majority of the offense with an RBI single and a three-run home run. ... Since Mike Zunino has been doing the bulk of the catching for the M's, opponents don't seem to want to run as much against them. ... So what is the All-Star game? Since baseball has put some importance on it, fans (and everyone else) seem a bit confused. Larry Stone examines that situation in his weekly column. He also has his power rankings and awards.
• Sounders: Wrote here yesterday the injury-bitten Sounders might have trouble scoring against San Jose. They did, losing 1-0. But we should have written they might have trouble staying healthy as well. They did, losing a handful of players during the course of the game. As coach Sigi Schmid said, it was an ugly game, though he used a lot more uglies.
• Seahawks: We have a couple more questions that need to be answered as training camp draws ever closer. How much will Antoine Winfield see the field and who will start at right guard? ... Russell Wilson brought his passing camp to Seattle yesterday and the kids who attended seemed enamored of the Hawks quarterback. Why not? He's their size. ... I know you are all excited about the prospects this season, but Jerry Brewer sounds a note of caution. ... Marshawn Lynch and Skittles have yet to get together.
• Hard to believe it is Sunday all ready. Another week underway. Hope it's a good one for you. Until later ...