Major League Baseball

Roy Halladay No Hitter – A Once in a Lifetime Sports Experience

Roy HalladayIn sports, there are a few events that a fan will only see once in their lifetime. I am sure I won’t see anybody break Cal Ripken’s consecutive games played record. I won’t see anybody win a U.S. Open by 15 shots like Tiger Woods did. I won’t see anybody win 8 gold medals at one Olympics like Michael Phelps. These things might happen again; I’m just saying I won’t see it again in my lifetime. On October 6th 2010, one of these phenomenal, once in a lifetime events transpired. Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies threw a no-hitter in the playoffs.

Roy Halladay did this against a team, the Cincinnati Reds, which had the fourth highest batting average in all of baseball for the season! Not just the National League, all of baseball. They had a higher batting average than the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox! He shut down a potent offense that also scored the fourth most runs and hit the fourth most homeruns. Also, this is the playoffs! Nobody throws no- hitters in the playoffs!

Well, one person has. Don Larson threw a perfect game in 1957, in the World Series. I was not alive for that but I assume it was incredible. I know what Halladay did was not in the World Series, but it should not diminish this accomplishment in any way. I have nothing vested in either the Phillies or the Reds as a fan and my palms were sweating for the final six outs.

I was watching the game with a Reds fan who found herself rooting for the no-hitter even though it meant a loss for her team. I also spoke to a few Reds fans after the game and they all said they were sad their team lost, but felt privileged to see history. The event brings up an interesting question: When is it ok to root against your team? Wednesday night, we got a pretty good answer. If history is on the line, conventional wisdom can be thrown out the window, to an extent. I am sure there are plenty of Reds’ fans who are just upset that their team lost and do not care history was made.

History and sports are a natural combination. People can use sports as a guide to history. For a lot of us, well some of us, we reference an event in sports as a way to remember historic dates. It is just one way the mind can work. It is meant as no disrespect to any historical events but simply the way some people’s brains are wired. How many people remember 1980 for the “Miracle on Ice” or 1961 for Roger Maris breaking the single season homerun record? 1919? Easy, the Chicago “Black Sox.” 1972? Undefeated Miami Dolphins. 1985? Villanova over Georgetown. 2010 is not over yet, but selfishly, I want it to be remembered as the year we saw only the second no-hitter in postseason history.

I was being selfish. I was rooting to see history. I wanted to tell my kids that I got to see a no-hitter in the postseason once. I want to use the game as a bedtime story to my future son on the eve of his first postseason game. If it is a day game, I will call him off of school sick so we can watch the game together. We can root for a no-hitter together. After each time a no-hitter is broken up, I will say to my son, “It’s ok. It will happen once in your lifetime.”

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