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Uh Oh, No-No. . .Eh?

May 9, 2018

Baseball is one of the most boring sports in the world.

Why do you say that?

What’s one of the best games a pitcher throw? A No-Hitter.

Yeah, so?


Yesterday was a pretty boring day for the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team. A man named James Paxton, a left-handed starting pitcher for the Mariners, did something that has never been done before. He threw the ball 99 times over 9 innings. And it was pretty boring. . .in the most exciting sort of way.

Let’s do a short review for those who perhaps think baseball ranks slightly below golf and chess on the action-sports scale.

The object of the batter in baseball is obviously to hit the ball. The object of the pitcher is to either prevent him from hitting it, or have him hit it to one of the defenders.

Baseball, a game of statistics is all about measuring things. For example, if you take the number of at bats a hitter has and divide that into the number of hits he achieved, you will get his batting average. A batting average of .300 is considered very good. That means that if a batter gets 3 hits for every 10 times at the plate, he’s doing well.

There are lots of ways a batter can get out. He can strike out, for example. He can hit a fly ball to one of the defenders. He can hit the ball on the ground and fail to reach first base before a defender is able to pick up the ball and throw it to the first basemen.

There are other ways, too. For example, if there are fewer than two outs with a force play at third or the bases loaded and the batter hits a ball that in the umpire’s judgement an infielder could catch with ease, the umpire can invoke the Infield Fly rule and rule the batter is out. (Yeah, we don’t really understand it clearly either.)

A batter can hit with an illegal bat and he’ll be called out.

Or, as happened today in Cincinatti to the visiting New York Mets, the players can fail to bat in the order written down on the lineup card. If they do, the batter that hit out of order is automatically out. And if you are a professional baseball player getting called out for batting out of order is one of the most embarrassing things you can do.

The pitcher’s job, of course, is to throw the ball and try to get the batter to strike out or hit the ball to one of the fielders. Yesterday, James Paxton did exactly that 27 times. During those 27 at bats, the hitters failed to safely reach base one time. It’s what’s known as a no-hitter. And it’s pretty rare. There have been three no-hitters in all of baseball this year. And the Seattle Mariners have five in the 35 year history of their franchise. Well, after yesterday they now have six.

So, if there have been three no-hitters this year and the Mariners have had 6 total, how did Paxton make history?

Paxton was born in British Columbia Canada. He’s not the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter. That has happened exactly one other time. It was a man named Dick Fowler pitched a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Athletcis on September 9, 1945. Seventy-three years ago. It was so long ago that the Athletics are no longer in Philadelphia. They are in Oakland and the Phillies are the Philadelphia team now.

So, Paxton becomes the second Canadian born pitcher to throw a no-hitter. But, what makes him unique is that Fowler threw his no no in Pennslyvia. Paxton threw his yesterday in Toronto. The first Canadian to throw a no-hitter in Canada.

I doubt I’ve done anything to convince you that baseball really is an exciting game. You probably still think it’s boring and now you realize it has a lot of obscure records. But, as a Seattle Mariners fan, take my word for it. It was a pretty exciting thing.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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