Baseball is the only sport I know of, where the defense holds the ball. The catcher is asked to call the game, the type of pitch and the location of the ball. The pitcher may reject that, but trust and communication between those two people is critical in getting the hitters out. When the two of them together can create a no hitter, that’s memorable.
It was June 27th, 1980. A Dodger pitcher, Jerry Reuss, threw his one and only, career no hitter. It was the only no hitter I had ever watched until last night. I couldn’t believe, as I thought back to that evening, that it had been almost 41 years.
I have rooted for the San Diego Padres for the last 27 years. I was fully aware that there had never been a San Diego no hitter in the 52-year history of the club. I knew, from having served tennis balls for years and watching baseball, that, the three critical elements of a delivery (serve or pitch) were the location, the movement and the speed of the ball.
Last night Joe Musgrove, San Diego native, pitching for the Padres against the Texas Rangers, had all three. Although, it was movement, he had in abundance. His control was so sharp that there were no free passes to first base. He also struck out 10 batters in the nine full innings he pitched. His catcher, Victor Caratini, called a brilliant game as well.
Finally Joe was asked postgame how luck might have been involved as is usually true of no hitters. He said when Joey Gallo, their best hitter, was accidentally hit by his pitch, he was lucky Joey didn’t get a chance to hit.
A night of Josephs you say? I am reminded briefly of the Joe who stopped any chance of a no hitter in 56 consecutive games. As Paul Simon put his plea, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
In the late innings, last night, and on the final pitch, my eyes teared up and my heart swelled. Some things you just can’t completely explain. Where have you been Joe Musgrove?