Some more hastily-written gushing in response to Roy Halladay’s no-hitter:
- I love the pursuit of perfection in baseball. I don’t think any other major sport has it in quite the same way. In a game where the difference between success and failure is frequently slight (3 hits in 10 at bats is good; 6 wins in 10 games is great), the no hitter and perfect game stand out. I can think of no individual feat in football, soccer, basketball or hockey that captures the same sense of perfect accomplishment. The closest I can think of is an NFL team’s 16-0 run, but that is a team, season-long accomplishment.
- I also love superstition in baseball. Starting in the sixth inning, the Phillies dugout got quiet and nobody spoke to Halladay. In the bullpen, relievers did not move from their seats for fear of changing the aura and ruining Halladay’s mojo. These are world-class athletes who train year round for these games, aided by world-class science and medicine. Yet if Chase Utley had somehow spoken aloud in the seventh inning about the no-hitter, and Halladay had lost it in the eighth, he would have blamed himself.
- Such superstition, the belief that you have the power to jinx the game, is inherently selfish. But I find it a very charming and humble part of the game. Halladay’s teammates on the field would have run through walls to preserve the no-hitter. His teammates off the field did everything in their imagination to keep the aura working. Irrational actions in support of a teammate, absurd actions that nevertheless feel both significant and necessary, I find to be a sign of charming teamwork. And when the team celebrated, no one taunted the Reds. After all, there’s nothing worse anyone could do to the opposition than the demolition Halladay had just completed.