|No-Hitters Losing Impressiveness||| Print |||Send|
Written by Joshua Kay (Contact & Archive) on June 25, 2012
After Kevin Millwood and five other Mariners combined for a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, I knew that interleague play was inflating pitching stats. Then Matt Cain throws a perfect game, and R.A. Dickey throws back to back one-hit shutouts with 10+ K's in each, the first time that's happened since 1988.
What's next, Jeremy Guthrie no-hitting the Rangers on this Saturday the 25th?
There have now been 14 no-hitters since the beginning of 2010, four of which were perfect games. Not to mention, we now have back to back one-hitters by R.A. Dickey (as previously mentioned), which I would argue is more special than a perfect game.
There is no question that these great pitching performances are great for baseball because of the effect it has on the casual fan. There is no other sport in which you can attend a game that has no pre-hype of a possible history-making performance -- like, let's say a pitcher needs a few more innings to break a scoreless streak record -- and be able to witness history. It's great for the sport.
In order to determine if perfect games and no-hitters are becoming less special, we have to ask ourselves what really excites us about such a performance. Is it the difficulty of pitching a no-hitter or is it the rarity of such a special performance? I think that rarity implies difficulty, in a way, and if that rarity dissipates, must we change our opinion on how difficult it is?
I think we must. For example, let's take the record-breaking home run era. Forget for a minute that performance enhancing drugs were involved. How captivated were we when Mark McGwire first starting breaking home run records? But then Sammy Sosa started doing it, then Barry Bonds, then other players were setting career highs in home runs. It was all over baseball. I didn't feel like I was witnessing that much history.
The bottom line is when I saw Brady Anderson making home run leaderboard during the era, and now I see Philip Humber pitching a perfect game against the Mariners, and then Kevin Millwood combining with Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen for a no-hitter against the Dodgers, I start to wonder if what I just saw was really that impressive anymore.