If you told me that a Dodger had pitched a no-hitter, and gave me five guesses to name who it was, I still wouldn't have come up with Josh Beckett. Clayton Kershaw? Obvious first guess. Not Zach Greinke or Hyun-Jin Ryu? Then it would have to be Dan Haren. No? Well, did Paul Maholm start? Did they call up Stephen Fife? It couldn't have been Beckett.
It was indeed Beckett Sunday in Philadelphia. I listened to a little of the game, and checked in from time to time. The Dodgers were up 2-0 early. I checked in in the seventh or eighth, and it was 6-0. I was just about to turn the radio (er, my phone) off when Rick Monday said the Phillies didn't have any hits. Really? I better listen then.
Don't get me wrong, Beckett has had a great career. He won World Series with the Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox, but he's 34, he's now the Dodgers fifth starter, and had surgery to repair nerve damage. He couldn't even feel his fingertips a year ago! But that's what makes baseball baseball.
I saw the ninth inning on my phone, taking advantage of the free “live look-in” from mlb.tv. They not only let you see the final three outs, but also the interview with Beckett immediately afterward. Beckett was as loose as they come. Baseball superstition dictates that players don't talk to a pitcher who has a no-hitter going, but Beckett sought out chatter, and ended up talking to the security guard seated near him. The story goes that the officer told Beckett that if the no-hitter was accomplished, he wanted Beckett's jersey. Reportedly, Beckett gave it to him. Pretty cool.
The buzz surrounding the no-hitter almost didn't last much more than 24 hours. This evening at Dodger Stadium, Ryu got the start against Cincinnati, and hurled seven perfect innings—21 batters in a row. Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double and that was that. Three runs would end up scoring in that inning, but the Dodgers hung on and won 4-3. I got to listen to all of this one, although that wasn't the plan. I figured as soon as Ryu gave up a hit, I'd go watch hockey. By the time he did, the game was on the line, so I stuck with it. Pretty good back to back pitching performances on consecutive nights and three time zones apart. Greinke's turn Tuesday and Kershaw Wednesday.
Vin-less: With so many no-hitters called in his career, it was weird not to hear Vin Scully in the ninth inning of Beckett's no-hitter. It's even weirder, though, that he wasn't there tonight to see Ryu's attempt at perfection. Scully doesn't travel east of Arizona, we get that, but he was absent for a home game. Hopefully it was just a scheduling thing.
Yesss! Junior: While Scully doesn't travel much anymore, hockey announcer Kenny Albert is more than making up for it. In addition to calling the Los Angeles Kings-Chicago Black Hawks series on NBC or NBCSN, he's doing radio for the New York Rangers. That means he went from Chicago to Montreal to Los Angeles on Saturday, to New York for an overtime game Sunday, back to Los Angeles tonight, and to Montreal tomorrow. Is there some dreadful shortage of hockey announcers? And I thought Albert worked for Fox. He does, but apparently not exclusively. Good work if you can get it I guess.
Sox underway: The first weekend of the Marysville Gold Sox season is in the books, and the team is off to a 4-0 start, including a non-exciting 17-0 win Sunday. Opening night was the best game, with the Sox winning 4-1. I showed a lot of rust, though, calling a home run that wasn't. Seems like a good group of guys, though. Tough team from Oregon in on Thursday.