Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hate To Break It To You, But There Is No Santa Claus Either

As A.J. Burnett walked off the mound in the bottom of the fourth inning last night, John Sterling mentioned that he was carrying a no-hitter. I couldn't see the box score, and I cringed for a second, knowing that there are scores of people out there who actually think that mentioning a no-hitter or perfect game in progress "jinxes" it. Apparently Michael Kay said it on the YES broadcast as well.

Friends, we live in an age of science and reason. How, exactly, does what an announcer says into a microphone in a box 50 feet above the field impact what happens when a pitch crosses home plate? You think that's the only thing stopping a pitcher from throwing a no-no every time he takes the mound? Where do you draw the line? What if a fan in the stands mentions it? What about you at home? What if I type it? ZOMG JINX!!!1!one1!!exclamationpoint!!

No-hitters are extremely rare, there have only been 256 in the history of the MLB, or about two per year. You know what keeps them from happening? Probability. Why doesn't this apply for the cycle? There are just about as uncommon, and when a batter comes up to the plate with a 1B, 2B and a HR, you hear the announcer say "Just a triple short of the cycle" every single time and no one says a peep.

I think it's cool that the players leave the pitcher alone in the dugout. It's a great old-timey baseball tradition/superstition, and it could actually directly affect the pitcher. If a person says something odd to a pitcher that gets in his head, it might put him in the wrong frame of mind when he goes back out to the hill. I get that.

What I don't get are the morons who are going to call into the Michael Kay Show today and bitch about the fact that Kay mentioned it on the air. If John Sterling took calls during the pregame, he'd have to deal with these Druids too. Until Sterling mentioned it, I didn't know Burnett hadn't given up a hit yet. If he had never brought it up, who knows how many in the radio audience would not have realized what was taking place. It's called broadcasting. You are supposed to inform your audience of what is going on. It made the game a whole lot more interesting for the listeners.

If you are outraged that broadcasters mention no-hitters on the air, please go to and look at the antonyms for superstition:
Antonyms: fact, reality, truth


  1. To Kay's credit, he faced this head-on on the YES broadcast, and prsented evidence: he mentioned it on-air (radio) for the Abbot, Gooden, Wells, and Cone no-no's, and they weren't jinxed. Cone (also on last night's broadcast) chimed in that he HEARD Kay mention it during his perfecto in '99 when he went back into the clubhouse to change undershirts. Even that didn't jinx him.

  2. I don't mind them talking about it, but when they start getting involved in all the psychological aspects of the pitchers mind when he has a No-No in the top of the 5th it is ridiculous.

    They can bring it up, but I don't want in depth analysis of it until it is at least the 7th.

  3. Eric - I guess that seals it, then; aplayer actually hears the broadcaster say it and it doesn't matter Glad that Kay was up front about it, I've heard him go off on people on his radio show about it before.

    BWS - Agreed, it does get annoying to hear them phsycoanalyze it. Yes, he's probably feeling the pressure, now shut the fuck up.

  4. The only person I will give a slight pass to is David Cone because he has thrown one so he can actually give some insight.

    BTW, I am going to throw a battery a Longoria next time he is in NY.

  5. Jay- Yeah, I would say he goes off a little.

  6. Straight from the mouth of Michael Kay:

    "Don't tell me it's baseball etiquette! You know it used to be etiquette to have black people as slaves!"

    "Baseball etiquette? There are a lot of rules that don't make sense. That's why there was Nazi Germany. Why did they march people into ovens? Because they told them to do"

  7. Michael Kay: Challenging conventional wisdom one hyperbolic, racially offensive analogy at a time!

    That was on his radio show, yes?

  8. Yes, that sure was on his radio show. I would say its a tad racially offensive.

  9. Superstition is a very real thing, despite the fact that it has no basis in reality. People (like myself) believe in it. I wore the same shirt for each of URI's 31 men's basketball games this year after they won the first one (when I wore it). I sat in the same spot for every game of the 2003 playoffs. I play in a baseball league and I run out to my position the same way every time. And I get pissed when announcers mention no-hitters.

    (Actually watched the Lester one on Easter Sunday as NESN re-ran it. D.O. and Remy were uber-careful not to mention it)

    If they did, would it have affected the outcome? No. But people like me would have claimed it did.

    Burnett didn't get the no-hitter last night, did he? Just sayin'...

  10. Also:

  11. As Jay said, it is the role of the announcer (especially a radio announcer who cannot show the box/line score on the television screen of a fan) to tell the viewer/listener what is going on in the game. If I tune in to WCBS in the middle of the game without having followed previous innings, I want to know how the starting pitcher is doing. How will I know how a pitcher is doing? In part by the number of hits that he has given up. Sterling/Georgie Girl would be derelict in their duties by not saying that there is a no hitter in progress. One of the reasons why broadcast teams have ex-players in the booth is to analyze situations exactly like this--as was the case with David Cone last night. I appreciated his perspective and analysis.

    Players in the dugout is an entirely different story because they can actually have an effect on the pitcher by talking to him, etc.