Staying up late last night was worth it. I usually get to bed no later than 9 so that I can be up by 4:45 to eat breakfast and type this blog before my son wakes up, but by the time the White Sox reached the fifth inning and Lucas Giolito still had a no hitter going, I just couldn't turn the TV off.
Yes, this blog is centered around all things writing, journalism and education. And if you've read a number of posts on here, you'll see I've written about a wide range of topics along with writing, journalism and education posts. Namely, I've put out quite the number of White Sox and baseball articles. Yet, I find that baseball offers just as much drama and human spirit that can be found in any work of fiction or TV show. Last night was the perfect example of this.
The only downside to Gio's no-no was that no fans were in attendance. No fans were there to cheer him on, stand in the seats in the ninth, and rejoice when he got the final out. Yet, as Jason Benetti said just before the final out, our hearts were in our throats. With each passing inning, I felt more and more unrest. The camera flashed periodically to Lucas pacing in the dugout, and as a former pitcher myself, my heart went out to him.
I threw a no hitter as a pitcher my sophomore year. The only thing that kept me from pitching a perfect game that day was an error in the field, just as the only thing that kept Gio from pitching one was the walk he issued. To pitch at such a height means that you not only have to be locked in, but the team behind you has to be locked in as well. Lucas mentioned this after the game. The outstanding defensive work by Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, and that heart-wrenching grab by Adam Engel helped seal the deal for Gio's gem. A little bit of luck goes into it too. For example, if Nomar Mazara was out there in right, a subpar right fielder, would he have made that play?
Some will shoot down Gio's masterful performance by saying that they played the worst team in baseball and with it, one of the worst offenses in baseball. While that's true, I know from personal experience just how difficult it is to throw a no hitter against any team. I could only imagine how difficult it is to throw a no hitter against a major league team in a shortened high stakes 60 game season. Those who say that have no idea what they're talking about and have no respect for the game.
This was a thing of beauty, and it was something that was not achieved in a White Sox uniform since Phil Humber pitched his perfect game against the Mariners in 2012. If you remember that game, you'll probably also remember that the last out was questionable as the last called strike was definitely no where near the strike zone. There was nothing questionable about this gem. This was as black and white as the Sox uniforms and as exciting as their season thus far.
This is a team that would have crowds in the seats if there were fans in the seats. The fan base is growing, and for good reason. After taking care of the Cubs with our offense, we took care of the Pirates with our pitching. We are finding ways to win in all sorts of ways. That's something that was absent the last eight years. Eight. When you ride out the losing years like I have, a year like this tastes all the more sweet. Last night was the cherry on top. Seeing the sorry look on the Pirates' players faces after the game said it all. They're at where we used to be, and we're in a glorious new direction. I just hope we can continue on our wonderful new path.
Congrats Lucas. Thank you for keeping me up last night. It's good to have something to cheer about in these hectic and stressful times.