The Red Sox are not the first good team to experience a no-hitter thrown at them and won’t be the last. I experienced being on the wrong end of a no-hitter by Tom Phoebus of the Baltimore Orioles back in the day. As that game got to the 7th inning we all got a little nervous and started to cheer each other on as if it was the seventh game of the World Series. Every one of us wanted to break it up with any kind of hit possible except one, a bunt. No one even thought about it.

Tom Phoebus had a good 93-94 mph fastball and a very good three quarter arm curveball that moved away from right-handed hitters. The Oriole defense was one of the best in baseball with Brooks Robinson at third, Paul Blair in center and Mark Belanger at shortstop. We hit the ball hard all game but we were victimized by their great defense and balls hit right at fielders who made sure they caught anything close to them.

It came to two outs in the top of the ninth and who do you think was the last hitter to try and break up what would be a humiliating defeat? You guessed it. Me. I was so determined to hit the ball hard somewhere and hope it fell in for a hit. Phoebus threw me a very hittable fast ball on the first pitch but I fouled it off straight back. I knew the second pitch would be a curveball. When the pitch came out of his hand I recognized the spin and the arc and I got excited. I followed the ball all the way and took my best swing of the day. I made solid contact on the sweet spot and started to run to first base. It was a low line drive between short and third base. As I was running toward first base I was sure I had the hit. About half way down the line I heard the loudest cheer from the Baltimore fans. One that made your ear drums want to burst. I looked up and saw Brooks Robinson on the ground with the baseball in his glove. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe he got to that ball. It was right in between short and third. How can it be? No one else but Brooks Robinson could have made that play. It was over and Phoebus had his no-hitter. You never know if it would happen to your team, but it did.

I’m sure this year’s Red Sox team felt a little embarrassed about not getting a hit in their game against Oakland but they’ll brush it off and continue to play good baseball. They have a lot of talent and the pitching has been very good. It’s a lesson you don’t forget. Baseball, as in other sports, is a humbling game. You’re a hero one day and the next you’re a goat. Maybe this is the best thing that happened to this team. You just can’t take anything for granted no matter how great a start you’ve had.

-Rico

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