On Sunday I witnessed something I have never seen before in person. Los Angeles Dodgers starter Josh Beckett threw a no-hitter at Citizens Bank Park against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the 283rd no-hitter in major league history, but it was the first time I ever watched one in person. Yes, I found myself at some point pulling for it to happen. No, I will not regret it.
I am a Phillies fan through thick and thin. I do not feel a need to defend that to anyone, but with the Phillies trailing 6-0 in the ninth inning I found it nearly impossible not to be rooting for history to be made while I sat there in the shade in Section 138.
Let me take you back to August 15, 1990. At the time my dad had season tickets that included that night’s game between the Phillies and San Francisco Giants. Terry Mulholland threw a no-hitter at Veterans Stadium, but rather than go to the game (games started at 7:35 p.m. back then), my dad opted to stay home because we had an early flight to catch to Disney World the next morning. I have the unused tickets in my Phillies collection to this day, along with a ticket to the 1964 World Series. At the time I was eight years old. Honestly, my sports memories are not really that vivid until the 1993 season, but I always wonder if I would have remembered that night at the Vet had I been there.
Now I do not have to wonder.
Some of you may have been to a no-hitter before, and of course you should feel pretty lucky to have witnessed it. I found the experience to be pretty surreal in the ninth inning.
The day was pretty miserable. We were sitting in front of a family of Dodgers fans that were a tad annoying and had a kid with absolutely no interest in the baseball action. Instead, the kid played a handheld video game with the volume up pretty good. Because it was Sunday we decided to take advantage of the Harry The K’s sundae and root beer float deal, if only anyone at Harry the K’s knew what they were doing that afternoon. First, we were told we could not go in because the line was being cut off outside, and the man seemed to have no clue about the sundae special. Second, once inside, the line was slow and growing so a waitress decided to start taking orders and asked us to step out of the line. This would have been fine, but she ended up complicating things more and the people she did not take orders got to move up in line and ended up getting their orders while we were standing off to the side waiting and waiting. It was a bit frustrating. It did not help at the time the Phillies were not doing anything well.
It was in the fifth inning when I was growing frustrated with the Phillies and the lack of offense against Beckett, but it was not until the seventh inning when I started thinking that this no-hitter could become reality. Given the lack of offense the Phillies can have and working through the line-up in my head, I started to think this was actually going to happen.
In the ninth inning there was a buzz around the stadium that was bizarrely unique. With Chae Utley coming up to the plate with two outs down, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park came to its feet, both Dodgers and Phillies fans. There was a collective hush over the stadium with every pitch. Personally, the last time I remember such a scene when I was in attendance was Cliff Lee‘s NLDS complete game victory against the Colorado Rockies in 2009, but I imagine it was similar for Roy Halladay‘s postseason no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds the following season. As Utley worked the count, I turned to my wife and said if Beckett got the no-hitter I did not want to rush out right away, as we normally do. As a baseball fan, this is something I wanted to soak in for a couple of minutes.
As Utley was called out on strikes, the Dodgers poured out of the dugout and onto the field at Citizens Bank Park to celebrate Beckett’s achievement. The crowd cheered the result, despite the home team going down 6-0. History had been made, and it was worth appreciating.
If I am going to watch the Phillies lose 6-0, I might as well get some history I will remember forever out of it.