You’ve heard the moniker “sports is the ultimate reality show,” and for as cheesy as it has become, there are few phrases that hold as true as that one — save for “you’ll shoot your eye out.” Not to oversell it, but that’s the beauty of a sporting event; you never know what’s going to happen when you plop down that $25 for a ticket, the $15 for food and the $20 bucks for a couple of cold ones. Sometimes you get a stinker, but sometimes, like last night’s Homer Bailey no-hitter, you get a gem.
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Before I get to the Homer Bailey no-hitter, I’ve been lucky enough to see two no-hitters in person. The first one was a free ticket I was given at the last second because my buddy’s dad couldn’t go. I saw Kevin Millwood throw a no-no against the San Francisco Giants in 2003. I was sitting first-base side, a few rows deep. I had a hot dog and a soda on that warm, April afternoon in Veteran’s Stadium. I was told I could come if I didn’t wear any Yankees garb and if I could keep my wise-cracks about the Phillies to a minimum. My first and last crack was during the first at-bat of the game after a Ray Durham walk, “Well, there goes his perfect game.” The baseball gods laughed hard after that one. Also, it should be noted that, if it wasn’t for Ricky Ledee’s homer in the bottom of the first, this may never have happened.
The second piece of history I saw was just last season. I was broadcasting for the Lynchburg Hillcats when their then 22-year-old prospect no-hit the Salem Red Sox. That day was especially unique as Northcraft, who speaks to his dad before every game, had told him he wanted to throw a no-hitter that day after nearly throwing one in MLB ’13: The Show. I still have to thank my broadcast partner, Erik Wilson, for giving up his share of the innings to let me make the final call. There’s no worse feeling as a broadcaster than knowing how superstitious your fan base is and having to say there’s a no-hitter in progress.
So, what does all of this mean? Well, I’m going to give you a first-hand perspective of the Homer Bailey no-hitter from Matt Anderson. Don’t worry about searching Google to see who he is, because he is just starting to make his mark on this world. The 21-year-old is a senior at Lynchburg College and former intern at the Lynchburg Hillcats. In case you’ve ever been to a Hillcats game and the scoreboard was wrong, he’s your guy.
That experience aside, Anderson is currently interning for Western and Southern Open, which is why this Dave Matthews-loving native of Charlottesville, Virginia, was at Great American Ballpark last night. Now, let’s get down to business and get a feel for the second Homer Bailey no-hitter:
Mike Viso: I got lucky getting tickets before, was this a planned event for you?
Matt Anderson: This was planned; we got tickets a few weeks in advance. I went with some friends and co-workers.
Viso: Where were you sitting?
Anderson: Section 405, Row I, Seat 11
Viso: Important question: Were you there for the first pitch?
Anderson: Unfortunately, no. The damn shuttle boat didn’t leave on time to go across the Ohio River, but I was there for the second inning.
Viso: For me, I remember exact conversations and food items from each no-hitter. What’s your list when you tell this story 20 years from now?
Anderson: 10 Hooters wings, Hooters fries, fried pickles, a couple Miller Lites before the game, a bag of Reds’ Peanuts during the game.
Viso: I hope you get some endorsement deals from those last plugs. Anyway, when did you start thinking “he might throw a no-hitter”?
Anderson: Around the fifth inning.
Viso: Did you talk about it with your friends or was it unspoken?
Anderson: Some people mentioned it, including me, but you don’t want to jinx it, so you try not to (mention it).
Viso: Was there disappointment after he lost the perfect game?
Anderson: The walk looked really close to being a strikeout, so it was a big buzz kill on the momentum that had been building, but not a killer. (See next answer for second part)
Viso: Was there a singular play that saved the day for Bailey?
Anderson: The fielder’s choice, 3-5, right after the walk. (Henry) Blanco got thrown out by (Joey) Votto trying to advance to third base on a ground ball to first. It didn’t look like Bailey or Votto was going to be able to beat (Buster) Posey to first base. Votto throwing to third and getting the fielder’s choice might have saved the Homer Bailey no-hitter. If there hadn’t been a walk, they might not have gotten the no-hitter.
Viso: Can any baseball event top it?
Anderson: UVA’s (University of Virginia) come back over UC Irvine in game three of the 2011 NCAA Super Regional.
Viso: What was so special?
Anderson: UVA was down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and a 0-2 count in game three of a three-game series. They came all the way back to load the bases and drive in the tying and winning runs.
Viso: Enjoy the rest of your night, and thanks for the snapchats!
Anderson: You’re welcome!
Final note: I can see why he was pumped about the UVA game. Take a look here.