Over at SB Nation, Grant Brisbee makes a good argument that a lot of what we like about baseball is the weird and silly stuff. Those “huh, I’ve never seen that before” that can be, but almost never are, moments of true greatness and triumph.
Position players pitching. Light-hitting utility guys hitting unexpected homers. Someone like Clayton Kershaw getting lit up while some no name tames the opposition. Guys falling down on the basepaths or in the outfield and fans catching foul balls in their beer. The rich tapestry of a million things, many somewhat dubious achievements, which can go down on any given night.
Against that backdrop he posits that things never got better than they were 25 years ago today:
If you agree with this, all of this, then there’s an argument that on July 1, 1990, when Yankees pitcher Andy Hawkins threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox and lost, baseball might have peaked. While other pitchers and teams have lost a no-hitter, none of them lost the game after setting themselves on fire quite like the Yankees did. Baseball might have peaked because never before or since has it been more entertaining, more skillful, more surprising, more cruel and more hilarious all at the same time.
The most ridiculous no-hitter in history is 25 years old. It’s time to celebrate, marvel and recoil in horror at this game. It’s everything baseball is supposed to be. Just, you know, not all at once.
Click through for the whole, weird story. A story of the pre-Jeter Yankees as only people of a certain age can remember them. A story which Hawkins himself describes to Brisbee, putting us back in a time when baseball seemed very, very different than it does now.