Who would have thought in a week when Gilbert Arenas banished his sense of humor and an 7-time Pro Bowl-er gets traded to a now-Super Bowl bound team that I'd end up writing about baseball? And yet, forces have aligned.
Last week, I wrote about my friend's lifelong love for the Texas Rangers, and today they began their playoff battle. A team that, as I noted, had previously won only one playoff game in their entire existence, started the journey on the road. The Rangers played the Tampa Bay Rays and were firmly in command the whole time. Listening on the radio while at work had an old-school effect not only on my buddy at work, but on the rest of us as well, constantly checking in with him for updates, despite the fact the the ever-present Internet was (as always) a mere click away.
Seeing my buddy after work was like seeing a kid after their team wins its first game. I'm not sure I can stand much more of his happiness, but I'm definitely rooting for it.
All that joy was, if not erased or negated, kind of deflated a mere five hours later, though. As I stopped by Marble Brewery to pick up a growler after work, I eased up to the bar to see another baseball game on. The Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Cincinnati Reds, but the game was pretty much over. It was the top of the ninth, and the Phillies were up 4-0, pitching. There wasn't much chance of a Reds comeback and yet, to my right was a guy in a Phillies jersey, watching the TV in rapture.
I hope I won't be mischaracterizing this man to say that, as the game wrapped up, he looked like he was liable to cry in joy. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of cheering happening on the TV as well, so I couldn't help but ask my fellow drinker: "Did the Phillies do something more special than winning the first game of the playoffs?"
He replied that Roy Halladay, the pitcher for the Phillies, had just proceeded to pitch only the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history. Only accomplished once, 54 years ago this Friday, a no-hitter in the playoffs is better than almost anyone would have predicted for Halladay's first experience in the playoffs. He'd never made it there before, despite playing in the big leagues for 15 years.
And with that, the Texas Rangers' moment in the sun was eclipsed suddenly, unexpectedly and totally, by a pitcher on a tear. Here's to both the Rangers and Halladay's continued success. Follow along on the radio. You'll be glad you did.