Sunday, June 29, 2008

A word means just what I choose it to mean

You might have noticed last night that the Angels no-hit the Dodgers and lost. It's pretty rare. Only four other times in history has a team given up no hits and failed to win.

Unfortunately, only has data for individual games back through 1956, so I can't show you any more. (Also, the link is to the Play Index that returns fewest hits allowed by a team, so if you don't subscribe – and I recommend you do – then you won't be able to see the whole table.)

More, you say? But you showed four.

Ah yes, and there's the rub. You see, one of the things Mr. Small-Market Man has done in his infinite wisdom is to decree that a no-hitter is no longer a no-hitter unless it was at least a nine-inning game.

But wait, you say. The Dodgers and Angels played nine innings.

Ah, well, that doesn't count, you see, because the Angels didn't pitch nine innings. See how that works?

Me either. Look, regardless of what Mr. [expletive deleted] thinks, a no-hitter is a game in which one team allows no hits to the other team throughout the entire game. That's it. I really don't understand what put this idea in his tiny little brain in the first place, or why he felt like this was an important thing to do, rather than something else like, say, punishing steroid users or un-juicing the balls ...

The worst part about it is that now Retrosheet no longer tracks no-hitters of less than nine innings, so if you want to find out about David Palmer's five-inning perfect game in 1984 or the Andy Hawkins 4-0 loss mentioned above, you have to hope they happened since 1956, or else you have to dig them out by hand.

Worse yet, notable performances like Ernie Shore's 27-out "perfect" relief performance and Harvey Haddix's amazing 12 perfect innings against Milwaukee (retiring Mathews, Aaron, and Adcock FOUR TIMES IN A ROW - you'll never see a game like this ever again) are pretty much lost to the common eye. In the old days, these were listed along with actual no-hit games because of the nature of the performance. (Amazingly enough, Haddix's game score was "only" 107. Just eight strikeouts ...)

It's amazing what Selig has done to baseball during his tenure, and I do not mean that in a good way. I mean it in the same way as I'd describe what Bank of America has done to banking or what Comcast has done to the cable industry.

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