Quick, name a time a Dodgers no-hitter left half the fan base pissed. Hashtag never.
Josh Beckett twirled a 2:37 no-hit gem in Philadelphia Sunday, leading Los Angeles to a 6-0 win and a series victory over the Phils. The former Florida World Series hero, two months into a comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, pitched to 30 batters, walked three and struck out six on a career-high 128 pitches. Eighty strikes, 48 balls and 24 rapidly beating hearts in the chests of teammates.
]It was beautiful, poetic – even without Vin Scully at the mike – historic, and a bit of a shame all at the same time. Within seconds of Beckett's final out called third strike to Chase Utley, Twitter exploded in exhilaration from fans watching on TV, and frustration from the ones who couldn't.
Among the contributions to social media in the wake of baseball history was this insult-to-incompetence tweet, courtesy of Time Warner Cable. Click the date to read the venomous responses of your neighbors.
No runs. No hits. No errors. No chance of forgetting this one. Congrats, Josh Beckett!
– SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 25, 2014
SportsNet LA launched in February, a blackout that affects 70 percent of the Southland started in earnest in March, and we are almost a third of the way into a season with no televised L.A. baseball on the horizon for many, many fans. We'll have the ratings shortly, but it's safe to assume that the 36,141 attendance figure resembles closely enough the number of people who saw the thing on TV.
But enough talk of corporate tomfoolery for Memorial Day. Josh Beckett was magnificent yesterday, so let's celebrate his accomplishment, while adding a little perspective.
Beckett's was the 11th no-hitter in Los Angeles Dodger history. If you go all the way back to the 1800s in Brooklyn – and you should – there have been 13 others. Carl Erskine has two no-no's to his credit (in 1952 and 1956), and of course, Sandy Koufax has four (one per year from 1962 through 1965), the finale being a perfect game, September 9, 1965, versus the Cubs at Chavez Ravine.
I was at the Koufax perfecto, and while I'd like to call it an all-time life highlight, I do not remember a single pitch, nor do I have the ticket stub to prove that I was there. My brother, Don, a federal judge and a religious man five years my senior, assures me of my presence.
My father kept scrapbooks filled with Dodgers newspaper clippings, both in Brooklyn while there, and in Los Angeles later. Interestingly, the image shown, from the July 1, 1962 edition of Los Angeles Times labels Koufax's garden-variety no-hit win (if there can be such a thing) over the New York Mets a “perfecto.” I have no idea why.
The Dodgers' 24 franchise no-hitters lead baseball, with the Giants' 15 a distant second place in National League history. Note the “24 Los Angeles Dodgers (Brooklyn Atlantics/Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Brooklyn Grooms/Brooklyn Superbas/Brooklyn Robins/Brooklyn Dodgers)” listing at the fun site, NoNoHitters.com.
Congratulations to Josh Beckett. This one is in the record books for all eternity, even if only a few thousand Angelenos were lucky enough to see it.
And remember, glove conquers all.