This week in baseball
Artwork by Mike Dancy II

This Week in Baseball: The Magic Of A No-Hitter

www.franchisesportsmedia.com

 

A no-hitter is magic. For this week in baseball, I wanted to shift the focus to the ace pitcher from the Southside of Chicago. The White Sox are having a terrific season, and they made magic happen last Tuesday.

 

Don’t you dare say a No-No!

 

Lucas Giolito, 26-years old, became the first pitcher this season to throw a no-no, and the first White Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Philip Humber’s perfect game against the Seattle Mariners in 2012. Giolito’s pitching performance was inspiring and so spectacular to watch. Moments like this are why I’m proud to be a baseball fan.

 

Photo Courtesy: Bleacher Report

These are the moments where you feel magic is in the air, hold your breath a certain way, don’t jinx it by calling your friends or posting on social media. The anticipation, the worry, the stress, the calm and collected, and the payoff. It’s like the three-act structure of a movie, playing out in front of your eyes in real-time.  However, the most memorable moment is when the feat gets accomplished, and the sigh of relief is seen on the teams’ faces, mixed with satisfaction and child-like celebration in unity. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates came to Guaranteed Rate Field to take on the Chicago White Sox, and Giolito showed why he is the White Sox’s ace.  After a rough season in 2018, with a 6.13 ERA, Giolito completely shifted in 2019. I should say, “shapeshifted.” That’s more like it. By changing his mechanics, he became the all-star pitcher the Sox needed to lead their rotation.  

During this game, a couple of instances seemed like the no-hitter was in jeopardy, but Giolito’s team had his back every step of the way. In a moment where White Sox fans’ stomachs were no doubt in their throats,  Tim Anderson fielded a grounder while playing closer to second base on a shift and made a quick throw across his body to Jose Abreu. The throw beat Bryan Reynolds at first for the out. 

 

Let’s set the mood for the final out, in another stomach-churning moment. 

 

Chicago White Sox announcer Jason Benetti calls the final at-bat with the perfect narration of quiet anticipation. Lurking underneath is the jubilation and excitement of something special happening right at this very minute:

“And now, the only man here to reach base tonight, for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Erik Gonzales…No hits through 26 outs… Giolito throws a slider, Gonzales swings and misses. “Strike one!… Deep in thought, the well-trained mind of Lucas Giolito.” Giolito throws a slider. Gonzales swings and misses again. “He went, strike two! One more bat to miss. “Nobodys here to watch, but everybody at home as their hearts in their throats.” Giolito throws, and Gonzales connects with a crack of the bat.  “0-2 –to right field–Adam Engel–IS THERE, a No-Hitter! The 19th in White Sox history!” 

 

How perfect is that? A moment like that called in such a way is why announcing is so essential. Giolito raised his arms in celebration as catcher James McCann went to the mound to congratulate him. They did it; they all did it. In a moment like this, social distancing had to be placed aside for the time being as the entire team embraced Giolito. If only if it was in a ballpark of fans, but then again, all the fans were in one shared conscious, watching through cyber-space. Everyone sighed that moment of relief in one giant connected unison.

 

no hitter
Photo Credit: David Banks/Getty Images)

Lucas Giolito struck out 13 batters, a career-high for the right-handed pitcher, and it was apparent that Giolito and James McCann were in sync right from the start. James McCann spoke of the Giolito after the game:

Lucas is an unbelievable pitcher, and he has great stuff. I think our relationship just takes it to the next level.” McCann then added this comment when speaking to The Athletic:I don’t have any words to really describe it.”

Giolito spoke to The Athletic after his extraordinary performance, still in shock by the whole experience: 

“It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet; it probably won’t until tomorrow. 2020 has been a very strange year—obviously, a lot of weird stuff with COVID and the state of the world. We might as well throw this in the mix too.” Giolito continued. “After the 6th was when I really noticed what was going on. After the seventh, I was like, ‘I’ve got six outs, we’re going to make this happen.’ I looked who was coming up and was like; this is very much in the realm of possibility. Let’s stick with the game plan and make it happen.” 

Speaking on his rough 2018, Giolito added: “I had to get my ass kicked and learn from failure and go make the changes I needed to make to realize my full potential.”

 

White Sox manager Rick Renteria spoke briefly about the no-hitter: “I don’t have any words. I want to cry. They’ve got to believe in themselves; we can’t believe for them. He’s always had that belief.”

 

At the time of writing this article, the Chicago White Sox (19-12) are half-game behind the Minnesota Twins (20-12), and tied neck and neck with the Cleveland Indians (19-12), all fighting for first place for AL Central. These are the storylines that everyone should be following; the American League is a straight barroom brawl for supremacy. 

 

Away from the ballpark, the world has much bigger issues to worry about; everything here is trivial at the end of the day. Sports are for our entertainment, but at the same time, we can’t hide from the harsh realities that keep evolving into a downward trend of hate and misinformation. Social media has turned into a warzone of opinions and abhorrence. People’s judgments cast from afar without a second thought. It’s a crazy world we live in, in the time of COVID, on top of everything like a cake from hell.

 

I learned a quote at a very young age, and I feel that it forever resonates in everything as I continue to grow older.  

“One can’t begin to know the strife one feels if they don’t walk a mile in their shoes.”

 

Hopefully, you can join me next week for a whole new slew of magic moments in baseball. See you then.

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-Joshua Rushford – Franchise Sports Media

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