A no-no for the ages
First things first. I missed the no-hitter. That said, I watched every single pitch of that game on television while in Rhode Island at the home of my in-laws. I sat back in a comfortable chair and didn’t get up. I was mystified by what I was watching.
Typically, when I’m off duty, I do not watch every pitch of a game. I might check in on some of the game, but I go back and forth doing other stuff. This time I was gripped by Buchholz. I knew he was pitching and that’s why I wanted to watch the game in the first place.
What jumped out was his offspeed stuff. His curve and his changeup both looked unhittable. He has that certain something. This is the way I remember feeling when Roger Clemens first came up in 1984 and when Jonathan Papelbon — then known as Jon Papelbon — made his MLB debut on the Manny didn’t get traded day of July 31, 2005 against the Twins. It’s exciting when you feel like another star is coming along.
At first, I was pretty bummed out not to actually be covering the game. But that passed pretty quickly as I relished taking in the moment as a pure spectator. It was much the same feeling as I had while watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl against the Rams in 2002. It was the same type of utter disbelief in seeing such a great sporting event. I think this is why we all love sports in the first place, for the chance you might one night flip on the TV and see a night like this.
When I lived in New York and frequently covered the Yankees and Mets — among other pro teams — for a different publication, I missed two perfect games. On May 17, 1998, I was covering the NBA draft lottery in Secaucus while David Wells got 27 up and 27 down against the Twins. And when David Cone pulled off the same miraculous feat on July 18, 1999 against the Expos, I was on my parents’ boat in Hull. Oh well.
I finally saw my first — and still only — no-no on April 27, 2002. Derek Lowe put on quite a show that day. But even I admit that this one had more drama and was a better storyline though D. Lowe was also a great story at the time coming off his disastrous year as a closer and turning in a Cy Young Award caliber season.
So what happens to Buchholz for the rest of the season? Look for the Red Sox to be extremely coy on that subject. However, he will play a role in some form or fashion, though he won’t be overtaxed. I don’t think the club wants him to pitch more than 160 innings total this season. He’s at about 140 right now.
Stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day and soak in what was a truly great Saturday night at Fenway.