Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Justin Verlander's 2nd No Hitter

The title of this blog post may suggest I am getting away from my travel blog and posting something a little more personal. While that is partly true, it still falls under the travel category because I actually made it to this historic game.

First off, I will explain what a no hitter is. It is a baseball term for a game in which the opposing team fails to get a hit. That doesn't mean they don't make contact with the ball, but that after making contact with the ball they do not make it safely to a base without the other team making a mistake. There have been 271 no hitters in Major League Baseball, but that dates back to 1875. Before Saturday May 7th only one had been thrown at this site in Toronto. It was then known as the Sky Dome but it's name has been since changed to the Rogers Centre. This is the first no no since the name change.

Rewind to months ago when the schedule was released and I circled this day as a day I wanted to go to the game. By myself if I had to, although I knew I would be able to find a worthy companion. The one I had in mind was my roommate from Australia, Marc. The two of us stayed up to insane hours to follow baseball while living in Australia.

Plans were in motion for our reunion. As the date came closer, the excitement grew. Finally I looked at the pitching match-up and could not be more excited. My favourite pitcher Justin Verlander vs his favourite Blue Jay pitcher, Ricky Romero (the way Marc says his name gives me chills every time and brings back pleasant Australian memories).

It turned out my parents were taking my sister and her boyfriend to this game. I got them to drop me off in Hamilton on the way so I could drive in with Marc. As was expected, the trash talk began, "Weiler, Verlander has horrible career numbers against the Jays. They are going to get swept." I still was proud in my Verlander jersey. We headed over to Marc's uncle's place for some hot dogs and a beer before the big game. We reminisced about our good times back at 38 cricket, with the gorgeous Danish girls, the boisterous Australians, the crazy French, Earth the Thai guy we have no idea how to contact and words cannot describe Keith Kavhai, the guy from Zimbabwe. We just know we miss him.

As a result, we showed up a little late for the game. We met my friend Joe--also a big tigers fan--and started talking to scalpers to find tickets for the game. I got a little anxious and wanted us to just buy the next tickets and be done with it. We paid $60 bucks for each, no discounts despite missing the first inning and a half. Our seats were in right centre and we seemed to be in the midst of a pitchers duel. Neither team had a hit at the start of the third inning.

That's when the tigers bats came alive. By the end of the fourth it was 6-0 Detroit and the Blue Jays not only were hitless against the Tigers, but Justin Verlander was perfect. In the history of baseball only 20 pitchers have ever thrown a perfect game. I took some time to find my father to discuss, or rather to avoid discussing what was happening.

It is considered bad luck to mention either a perfect game or no hitter.

After I returned to my seat, Verlander remained perfect until one out in the eighth. That meant he had sent down 22 batters in order. Then rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia stepped to the plate. In an at bat that seemed to take for ever--J.P. fouled off six strike 2 pitches--the perfect game bid ended with a walk. The very next batter grounded into a double play, ending the inning, still giving the Jays only 24 up and 24 down and keeping the no hitter hope alive.

In the final inning there were no disappointments. Verlander got his 3 outs and I went mad. Literally mad. I kissed every Detroit Tiger fan in the vicinity on the cheek, and Marc for good measure. Keep in mind I only knew Joe, the others were only fans I had been cheering with throughout the duration of the game.

It didn't stop there. It continued on the way out of the stadium and onto the streets of Toronto. Not all were very appreciative. Some Blue Jay fan started to give me props on a well pitched game so I kissed him too. Euphoria was a plenty and I have never felt that overcome with joy in my life. It was a great feeling and a greater game. I can only imagine what will happen when I am able to witness my favourite sports team win a championship.

1 comment:

  1. I honestly didn't think this was you Weiler, haha. Awesome description of your beautiful day!