When everyone sets out to go to a baseball game, there are a few goals in mind. Those could include getting there early to witness batting practice, maybe getting a few signatures on your jersey or baseball cap. And on the rare chance, you might even catch a homerun ball or a foul ball. I however, was able to witness something much more special and historic than that. This is my personal story of witnessing a no-hitter when the Cincinnati Reds played the San Francisco Giants in 2013.
My day started out as it normally did. I was still taking summer classes at my university and had those until noon. Two of my friends gave me a call saying that they wanted to go to a baseball game and I agreed. They originally both said that they wanted to go to Detroit or Cleveland because we have this goal to visit every stadium in MLB. The issues were that Detroit is three and a half hours away and that was without traffic. Cleveland was another three hours and fifteen minutes. We decided that going to Cincinnati, which is only an hour away, would be the best option.
We got to the game and they paid for the tickets ($11) each and I paid for parking ($15). We were walking to our seats and they were absolutely amazing. We were in right-center, three rows away from the fence. We honestly could not have had better seats.
The game started and everyone knew it was going to be a pitcher’s duel. Homer Bailey, arguably the best pitcher for the Reds behind Cueto at the time, was going up against Tim Lincecum but we were still cheering for the Reds to have a blowout victory. Homer Bailey and the rest of the team started off on fire, scoring a run in the bottom of the first. The Giants just did not seem like the defending World Series champions in this game. They looked sluggish at the plate, they were not hitting the ball hard and barely making contact if they even could.
After each and every inning, the crowd started to get progressively more quiet waiting for both teams to come back on to the field. Things were starting to feel special as Homer had a perfect game going into the seventh inning until he gave up a lead-off walk to Gregor Blanco. But even then, when the game went into the seventh inning stretch, I have never seen a crowd so quiet before. There were over 20,000 fans at this game, and maybe 100 of them were talking. One of my friends did not know exactly why everyone in the stadium was acting so “weird” and “different” so late in the game. As she discussed her confusion, my other friend almost blurted out the one thing you never say when there is a no-hitter in progress: “There is a no-hitter.” Thankfully, before those words were uttered into the silent stadium for everyone to hear, everyone sitting in our section including myself was quick to hush them both up.
The top of the ninth approached quick after the seventh inning stretch. Bailey made quick work of Brandon Crawford forcing him into a ground-out, then striking out pinch-hitter Tony Abreu. Then, Blanco steps back up to the plate. The same player that broke up Bailey’s perfect game bid in the seventh inning. The next moment felt like it was in slow motion, Blanco grounded the ball down the line to Frazier. Frazier picked the ball up and threw it for the final out and sealed Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter in 10 months.
Everyone in the stands threw their hands up cheering, jumping up and down, chanting, “Homer! Homer! Homer!” I have never been a part of anything as electric and magical as that moment. Being able to see a no-hitter is something I have dreamed about since going to White Sox games with my dad. I mean, I even got to see Barry Bonds play before he retired and my father even caught one of his home-run balls (granted, it was during batting practice but it still counts). A no-hitter is something that is so rare, it is normally just a dream for fans and even players to be able to witness. It is such a rarity, let’s take a look at the numbers: there have been 252 no-hitters in MLB since 1900. There have also been 345,950 games played total since then. If you divide the number of no-hitters by the total number of games played, you get 0.00072843%. That is quite the slim chance to witness a no-hitter on any given day at any given game. And if you think about it, there are even less perfect games.
I honestly wish everyone could experience a no-hitter. The feeling of your hearth thumping in your chest, the feeling of adrenaline pumping through your veins, watching that final out happen in slow motion. As cool as all of those things are, the best part about witnessing the no-hitter is not getting to see something not everyone can, it is not about being part of history. Honestly, the best part was being able to witness an amazing feat with two of my closest friends and being able to give a high-five to everyone sitting within 50 feet of our seats. I was hugged by people I did not know, I had a smile on my face the entire night and I still get this weird and happy feeling each and every time I think about it.