Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Duff: A Mariners no-hitter among friends
By Duff McKagan
No matter how many pitchers it took, watching a no-hitter in person is still exciting.
Musician Duff McKagan's column runs every Wednesday on Playbook Sounds.
Not being able to attend a game of your favorite MLB team until June can be a bummer. If you travel or otherwise have work commitments like myself, this will be the case some years. Sure, you follow the team online or with a Slingbox or by Twitter.
But, of course, there is nothing that comes close to actually going to the ballpark.
I still have my three best friends with whom I grew up. We’ve known each other since we crawled underneath church pews or played pee wee football together. We all were playing little league baseball when the brand-new Seattle Mariners franchise came to town in 1977. It was an epic event for us, and we all have grown up as first-generation M’s fans. It has been a cool extra that will draw us four dudes together for a night out as pals. Of course, we revert right back to our kid selves.
Last week, I finally came home to Seattle. One of the first orders of business was to go to a Mariners game with my pals. Interleague play was happening, so we found ourselves at Friday's Dodgers-Mariners matchup.
All right ... what the hell! The Dodgers have the best record in baseball right now, and I thought they probably would beat up on our overmatched Mariners ... but still, it would be fun to get to a game.
As the game got under way and quickly progressed through the first five innings, my buddies and I settled in for what was another game with a drought of Mariners hitting. But that night, no one from the Dodgers seemed to be hitting, either. We spent that time catching up on general B.S. that included bemoaning Seattle sports (that’s what we do up here).
Being as there are no play-by-play announcers at MLB parks, you are left to your own devices to sort out what is going on. In the fifth or sixth inning, my buddy Andy suddenly interjected into our conversation that no Dodger had a hit off Mariners pitcher Kevin Millwood. Sure enough, under the "H" on the scoreboard, there was a big fat zero.
But then they pulled Millwood, and we assumed he must have gotten injured or sick. We didn’t know anything really, but pitchers Charlie Furbush and Brandon League came in and continued to no-hit the Dodgers. We wondered, as closer Tom Wilhelmsen finished out the game, how the league would count this game (the Mariners had scored one run in the sixth).
A combined no-hitter it was, and for us it didn’t matter how it was counted or what other fans around the league thought. Some tough guy from L.A. tweeted me about my team's "punk-ass" no-hitter, and I was left sort of scratching my head.
A no-hitter is a no-hitter, and my pals and I got to witness it.
Sure, it would have been more pristine if Millwood had stayed in, injury-free, and gotten a no-hitter on his own. But it was great to see that whole pitching staff come together and just simply throw hard for one in the W column.
That is what you go to the games hoping to see: your team winning through a struggle. Your team rising up once in a while, and making you and your lifelong pals feel good about going to the ballpark that night.