Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Merry Chris

It could have been Joe Panik's night--he hit a long home run back in his home state, with lots of family and friends from Hopewell Junction in the stands.  Matt Duffy clobbered one, too, and Buster Posey had three hits.  But no question whose night it was: rookie pitcher Chris Heston threw a no-hitter in the Big Apple, in just his 13th start in the bigs.  Oh, and he had two hits and drove in two of the 5 Giants runs.

Many, many years ago I got sleepy listening to the Pirates game on the radio.  I had school the next day and besides, nothing was happening.  The next day I read in disbelief that Harvey Haddix, my favorite Pirates pitcher, had thrown a perfect game for 12 innings plus, a no-hitter for 12 and 2/3. Even though the Bucs had 12 hits they hadn't scored, and Haddix and the Pirates lost it in the 13th inning.  One of the greatest pitching feats in baseball history--largely forgotten because of the loss--and I couldn't believe that of all the Pirates games I'd listened to that year, I missed most of this one.

Those were the days when even the announcers obeyed the injunction not to jinx a no-hitter by anticipating it.  On Tuesday I didn't hear the Giants announcers talk about it until after I'd figured out on my own that it was happening, although there were some pointed references to the Mets baserunners all being hit batsmen (three, including two in one inning.)  But by the 7th inning they had said it out loud and every out was marked.  By then the Giants had a five run lead and this was the remaining drama.

So this time I was listening, and it was sure exciting--especially when Heston ended his no-hitter by striking out the side in the last of the 9th.  There were lots of Giants fans at the game, and even the Mets fans apparently were excited to be witnessing baseball history.  Also in the stands was Heston's first baseball coach, from Little League through high school.  They live near each other today. He was in New York ostensibly visiting relatives but really to see the game-- it was the first major league game he saw Heston pitch.  Amazing.

 Heston, Duffy, Panik--not the names associated with the Giants before.  But Tuesday in New York, they made their names forever in Giants lore, and they're playing big for the 2015 Giants, and integrated into this team that suddenly seems loaded with talent.  That's why they play the games.

Local happiness dampened by the Golden State Warriors losing another close one to Cleveland.  I kind of expected that if they lost game 2, they would lose game 3--the first at Cleveland.  I expect they'll win big in the next game, and then--as it so often is--the fifth game is pivotal.  That was usually the Bulls and Lakers formula--win game 1 and 5, whatever else you did, on the way to the championship.  

After their five game losing streak the Giants went to the White House, for the third time in Obama's presidency (and the past five years.) They professed to be inspired by it when they went to Philadelphia, but for awhile they seemed to be playing down to the level of the awful Phillies.  They played just well enough to win 2 of 3.  A day off in New York City must have energized them, as they faced one of the Mets young guns.  They got to him and even more to the bullpen.  Then they partied in the clubhouse after the no-hitter.  So far they're loving New York.