Homestander: One Hand, No Hits

Miller Park, Off-Base May 2nd, 2013

HomestanderEach Thursday preceding Brewers weekend home stands, Tyler Maas will help prepare fans for all elements of the upcoming series with the Homestander. Tyler prints Wisconsin-themed shirts at Forward Fabrics and contributes to such fine publications as Milwaukee Magazine and The A.V. Club Milwaukee. All views, naughty words and weirdo sentiments are his own. Follow him at @TylerJamesMaas and watch him embarrass himself at Miller Park Drunk's Pants Party 3D on June 23.

In my 28-plus years on this planet, I'd estimate I've attended approximately 150 or so Major League Baseball games--roughly an entire season's worth of games. Thanks to proximity to the Miller Park, friends who love going to games and likely not being able to get a girl pregnant due to a perfect storm of looking as I do, binge-drinking Lo-Carb Monster and often resting my laptop on my crotch, I get to the park more than the average American. I mean, it's not like I'm in my mid- to late-40s and get to drive 200 combined miles 50 to 60 times a year to watch games alone while my spouse stays home with my kids, but I've still been pretty fortunate to witness as many baseball games as I have in my life.

In games I've attended, I've seen tons of Major League debuts, Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks' first home runs (same game!), first hits, five stadiums in as many states, fist fights, dramatic game-winning plays, crippling bullpen collapses, a 40-something biker lady whip out a breast, the bottom of countless helmet bowls, a Brooks Kieschnick pinch hit HR, and enough people doing the wave to make me absolutely lose faith in humanity. I think I once saw Ken Macha move! I've seen some great things and am lucky to have a baseball stadium serve as the background to many of my most prevalent and joyus memories in my life. But there's one thing I've never seen that I desperately want to, and--no matter how many hundred additional games I attend--might never see: a no-hitter.

If my math is correct, there are 4,860 regular season no-hitter opportunities. Once the playoffs are through, MLB starting pitchers will have more than 4,900 combined chances to accomplish the feat. At this point, there have only been 279 no-hitters in MLB history (280 if Jim Joyce was never born), so it's admittedly not a very common event. Still, of all teams in baseball (excluding the Nationals, who are basically the Expos, which have four no-nos in their history), the Brewers and the Mets have the fewest. That Brewers no-hitter by Juan Nieves--which Bill Schroeder caught. I don't know if he's ever mentioned it--in 1987 is one less than the no-no tallies of the Brooklyn Superbas, Washington Senators and Providence Grays and five fewer than the St. Louis Browns--six fewer than Nolan Ryan on his lonesome. Someone named Steve Busby even tossed one more no-hitter than the entire Brewers franchise has. In fact, one was against Milwaukee.

Milwaukee has been no-hit thrice (1974, 1994 and 2007), but never in a home game when I was alive. Pitchers with Brewers connections, such as Chris Bosio, Hideo Nomo (twice) and Jim Abbott has tossed no-nos, but never in a Brew Crew uniform. Carlos Zombrano threw one at Miller Park when the hurricane-displaced Houston Astros were using it as the team's "Home" stadium and I almost went, but lived in Appleton at the time and decided against buying tickets the morning of. Really, to see a no-hitter is special because it's a perfect recipe of skill, luck, circumstance and a silently thickening atmosphere around the approaching milestone. Once a pitcher (Brewer or otherwise) tosses five clear frames at a game I'm attending, I allow myself to imagine that this might be the game I see my no-hitter and have a story about being there when some asshole like Eric Stults no hit my Brewers in a fairly meaningless contest. In the 9th, I'd openly root for an opposing pitcher to no-hit Milwaukee (excluding elimination games). I don't care. So in addition to the game itself and the periphery joys of tailgating, hearing "Return Of The Mack", seeing mini-milestones, gross boob flashing, 50/50 frozen margaritas and laughing when somebody fucks up a simple trivia question, I go and will continue to go to games with the unlikely, but ever-present hope of witnessing a no-hitter.

Unless it's Bronson Arroyo. Fuck that guy.

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