Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Hit You Not!

When I was invited to last night's Red Sox game, at first I was hesitant. The weather reports had called for a high temperature of 47 with off-shore winds of 30-50 mph. My internal thermostat told me that was cold to be watching a night baseball game.

Even though I haven't attended a baseball game in quite a while, the fact that the Red Sox were hosting Kansas City wasn't exactly tantalizing. My friend was persistent and I agreed to go with him.

Besides, I remembered the last time I had turned down free tickets to a Red Sox game. On that night, which was foggy, cold and damp, Roger Clemens set a major league record by striking out 20 Seattle Mariners.

Jon Lester, 24, the Red Sox' highly-regarded young left-handed pitcher was the scheduled starter against the visiting KC Royals. The only two base runners through the first two innings reached base on a walk issued by Lester, and that runner was erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of the next hitter.

With the help of a KC error, the Red Sox put up five runs in the bottom of the third. In the top of the fourth with two outs, the Sox' rookie sensation, Jacoby Ellsbury, made a web-gem diving catch of a fast sinking ball in short center field. We could not have known at the time how significant that spectacular catch would turn out to be. The ball caught by Ellsbury would be the closest the KC team would come to having another base runner until the ninth inning. That runner reached by way of a walk.

With two out in the ninth inning, his ninth strike out of the game clinched it. Jon Lester had pitched a no-hitter!

I know a certain lady on my Blogroll, Rebecca, who is a big fan of the Sox' starting catcher will be happy to hear of this game. For the record, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek became the first catcher in major league baseball history to have caught four no-hitters! In addition to Lester's gem, he was behind the plate for no-no's hurled by Derek Lowe, Hideki Nomo, and the one last year thrown by Clay Buckholz.



Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

Boston 0 0 5 0 0 2 0 0 X 7 5 1

WP: J. Lester (3-2)
LP: L. Hochevar (3-3)

His no-hitter is just another chapter in the feel-good story of this young pitcher.
On August 27, 2006, Lester was scratched from his scheduled start against the Oakland Athletics due to a sore back. The following day he was placed on the 15 day disabled list (retroactive to August 24, 2006), and was sent back to Boston for testing. At the time, Lester's back problems were thought to be the result of a car crash he was involved in on August 18, 2006.

On August 31 it was reported that Lester had been diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes and was being tested for a variety of ailments, including forms of cancer. On September 1, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that Lester had a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

On December 5, 2006, ESPN.com reported that Lester's latest CT Scan showed no signs of the disease, which appeared to be in remission. Lester attended spring training in 2007, and on March 5, 2007, he made his first appearance in a game. He retired all 3 batters he faced, with a total of 8 pitches.

He started the 2007 season for the class A Greenville Drive. Lester then started for AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in late April 2007. As of June 11, Lester was removed from the disabled list, and sent to Pawtucket for further rehab outings. Lester made his first 2007 start for the Boston Red Sox on July 23 against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and struck out 6, picking up the win.

Lester was the winning pitcher in the final game of the 2007 World Series which saw the Boston Red Sox sweep the Colorado Rockies in four games.

To honor Lester's comeback from lymphoma, Boston Baseball Writers' Association of America honored him with the 2007 Tony Conigliaro Award.

Though it was cold, I had witnessed my first live no hitter. The sell-out crowd and the energy of those fans and the electricity of a possible historic evening of baseball made me all but forget that it was cold out there last night.

...And to think that I almost turned down the ticket!

The Hits Keep On Coming

There may not have been any hits for the Kansas City baseball team last night, but this site, "It Occurred To Me", keeps on piling them up with ...
as of 11:30 pm last night.

It's certainly not as impressive as Jon Lester's accomplishment, but it's gratifying to me just the same. A tip of the hat and a hearty "thank you" to everyone who honors my Blog with their visits.



Skunkfeathers said...

"I hit you not" sounds like the current motto of the Colorado Rockies as a team...granted, they've now won three games in a row. But that's after being something like 12-13 games UNDER .500 LOL...

Hale McKay said...


Of course, this time last year no one picked the Rockies to be in the World Series.

It's a long season.

Jack K. said...

Here in the KC area many were not happy about the Royal's performance.

On the other hand, it is difficult to not cheer for a stellar performance from an up and coming young athlete.

We should all rejoice at similar performances.

NYD said...

If it happened anywhere else than Boston I'd congratulate the bum.

150,000 hits! Now thats a lot of blogging. Kudos to you, Mike

Fred said...

Roger Clemens. Who's that?

Tow of my favorite stadiums are Fenway and Wrigley Field. I can't think of a better place to watch baseball.

Tip of that back at ya'!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

What a great thrill for you, Davey. Way to go for you, and the Sox.

Skunkfeathers said...


Including ol' Skunk hyar. That 22 of 23 run to take the Rockies from no chance to the World Series is still one of the Wonders of the Modern Millennium.

Right now, they look nothing like they did at the end of last season. Then again, you're right: right now, they look like they did at this time last year.

Stranger thangs...

Hale McKay said...


I do believe that long layoff waiting for the AL champion to be crowned hurt them. They lost their edge.

And yes -- that run at the end of the season to and through the playoffs was incredible.

Hale McKay said...


We all hate to see our teams lose, but I agree with you - when there is a no-hitter in progress you have to give the opposing pitcher his propers.

Hale McKay said...


It was definitely a thrill. Thanks.

Hale McKay said...


I agree - Fenway and Wrigley are two great places to watch a baseball game - especially night games. The old Detroit park was good too.

Hale McKay said...


I will take a wild guess you are not a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

Don't tell me you're a NY Yankees fan!

Thanks for the kudos. Yes 150,000+ hits is a lot for just a few weeks past 3 years of blogging.

Jack K. said...

It wasn't until watching the news last night that I learned of Lester's bout with cancer. That makes his accomplishment that much sweeter. He is a great role model.

The only other time the Royals lost in a no-hitter was 35 years ago and Nolan Ryan was the pitcher.

Good job, Mr. Lester. We are quite proud of you.

Peter said...

There is only one thing I know less about than medicine (cancer etc) and thats baseball.... you covered both very well... I think!!!

Hale McKay said...


Yes, Lester's brush with cancer was quite the story around these parts - obviously.

He had already accomplished quite a bit after his recovery and return to the game. A no hitter is an explanation point on his comeback.

Hale McKay said...


Thanks. Not to worry, I'm sure I even know less about Australian Rules Football.