Hey Blue! There sure have been a lot of no-hitters this year, haven’t there? I was watching Homer Bailey throw his no-hitter on September 28 and when I mentioned it to my friend in the seventh inning, he said I was going to jinx it! What’s he talking about?
Perhaps the most common superstition in the game is that the mere mention of a no-hitter (or perfect game, for that matter) is bad luck. You will even see that most pitchers making legitimate bids for no-no’s often appear to be on an island in the dugout in the latter parts of a game, as their teammates refuse to disrupt them in any way.
This superstition reaches beyond the recesses of the field, as sportscasters have also adopted the practice of staying mum on the subject, and for good reason…
In 1947, Yankee hurler Bill Bevens was just one out away from what would have been the first no-hitter in World Series history, against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Yankees’ broadcaster Red Barber slipped up and mentioned the unmentionable, talking about how Bevens was about to make baseball history. What happened next? Bevens not only lost his no-hitter, but also proceeded to watch the Dodgers break up the shutout and even go on to win the game. Thankfully for Barber, the Yankees went on to win the Series in seven.
It’s certainly a slippery slope for announcers. On one hand, it’s their job to explain details of the game to their audience, but on the other, they must keep to the code. For example, Victor Rojas- the television announcer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- was criticized for keeping mum during Jered Weaver’s no-hitter this past May.
When you saw Homer hold the Pirates hitless, Major League Baseball tied a record with its seventh no-hitter of the 2012 season. There have already been a record number of perfect games this season, thanks to Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez and Philip Humber. Note: perfect games may also be considered no-hitters.
There are many that point to the MLB’s drug testing program- which is much more stringent on performance enhancers- as the main reason offensive production in the big leagues is down. Larry Stone noted in an August Seattle Times article that there will be about 4,000 fewer runs scored, and 900 fewer home runs hit, this season than in 2000.
In your case, my friend, you’re in luck. Within the “code” of baseball, it is permissible for anyone to talk about a no-hitter or perfect game as long as they’re not physically at the game. With the prevalence of social media networks abounding in today’s day and age, many wonder whether declaring a potential no-hit bid on a Facebook status or Tweet is off-limits. I’m here to tell you that as long as you’re not on site, then you’re exempt of this somewhat superfluous superstition. So talk, text, and tweet away; as long as you’re not in the ballpark, you are in the clear.