Connect with us

Sports

Sorry, MadBum: A 21-out no-hit effort isn’t the same as a 27-out no-hitter

Published

on

Sorry, MadBum: A 21-out no-hit effort isn't the same as a 27-out no-hitter

Madison Bumgarner was brilliant on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.

The big lefty gave credit to the shadows at Truist Park in his quick postgame interview with the Diamondbacks’ broadcast crew, but he was just being modest. This was vintage Bumgarner, a welcome sight for Arizona baseball fans who had too often watched a subpar version of the Giants’ World Series hero since he signed in the desert before the 2020 season. 

Bumgarner faced 21 Atlanta hitters over seven innings, and he didn’t allow a hit or a walk. The only runner reached on an error in the second, but was quickly erased on a double play. Because this was a 2021 doubleheader, it was a seven-inning game. Bumgarner gets credit for a complete game in the history books.

He does not get credit for an “official” no-hitter, though. 

MORE: Three stats behind Jacob deGrom’s historic start for Mets

If you’ve checked in on baseball Twitter since the end of his gem Sunday afternoon — not an easy task, what with Oscars Twitter and NFL Twitter taking up so much bandwidth — you’ve no doubt seen lots and lots of smart baseball people railing against this decision, which MLB made when it opted to shorten doubleheaders for the 2020 season and re-upped again for the 2021 campaign, long before MadBum toed the rubber Sunday. 

The definition from the Elias Sports Bureau, before the 2020 season: “No-hitters by teams and individuals shall not be credited in scheduled seven-inning games, unless the game goes to extra innings and the team (or individual in a complete game) pitches at least nine innings and does not allow a hit.”

Here’s an unpopular, but strongly held, opinion: Keeping Madison Bumgarner off the official list of no-hitters, as currently defined (we’ll come back to this), is the right call. 

Because here’s the truth: Getting 21 outs without allowing a hit is not the same as getting 27 outs without a hit. It’s just not, and any argument to the contrary is foolish and wrong. Neither is easy, obviously, but getting 21 outs sans hits is less challenging than getting 27 outs without allowing a hit. There are 307 officially recognized no-hitters; ask pretty much anyone on that list of 307 and they’ll tell you last six outs are the toughest outs of a no-hitter. Better yet, ask anyone who came close to a 27-out no-hitter and fell short, and they’ll definitely tell you those last six are the toughest outs. 

Here’s a list of 11 no-hit bids that ended after 26 outs. Dave Stieb is on that list for his Aug. 4, 1989, effort; it was one of four times in Stieb’s career that he carried a no-no into the ninth inning only to have it broken up (he did finally finish a no-hitter in 1990). The list of no-hit bids carried through seven innings is absolutely much, much longer than the list of 307 completed, official no-hitters. 

Once upon a time, Bumgarner’s gem would have counted. But in 1991, MLB convened a baseball statistical accuracy committee, chaired by commissioner Fay Vincent, and that group came up with this determination: An official no-hitter is “a game in which a pitcher, or pitchers, gives up no hits while pitching at least nine innings. A pitcher may give up a run or runs so long as he pitches nine innings or more and does not give up a hit.”

The argument for Bumgarner, of course, is that he never had a chance to pitch nine innings, because it was scheduled as a seven-inning game. And if he never had a chance to pitch nine innings, he should get credit for completing the game as scheduled without allowing a hit by having his effort recognized as an “official” no-hitter.

And, yeah, that makes sense. I get the logic. 

He was asked after the game if he thought it should count. 

“I mean, I don’t know,” he said, in vintage Bumgarner cadence and drawl. “I didn’t give up any hits today. I’m not in control of how many innings we’re playing. I like the seven-inning double-header thing. I don’t know.” 

Historical context is important, though. This isn’t the first time a pitcher has finished a game without allowing a hit and not gotten credit for an “official” no-hitter. According to the Baseball-Reference Bullpen section, that 1991 ruling erased 31 no-hit gems from the official list; those were all officially recognized final games, too, most ended by rain or darkness (in the pre-stadium lights days). 

It also wiped out games like Andy Hawkins’ eight-inning no-hit effort in 1990. Hawkins’ Yankees and the White Sox were tied 0-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth in Chicago. With two outs, young ChiSox speedster Sammy Sosa — yep, him — reached on an error by third baseman Mike Blowers, and then he stole second. Hawkins walked the next two batters to load the bases. Robin Ventura lofted a lazy fly ball to left field that should have ended the inning, but Jim Leyritz — a catcher by trade — dropped the ball (it was windy, but the ball hit the glove squarely), and all three runners scored. 

Then Ivan Calderon lofted a lazy fly ball to right field, but Jesse Barfield dropped that one, too, and Ventura scored to put the White Sox up 4-0. When the Yankees failed to tie the game in the top of the ninth, the game was over. Hawkins was initially in the no-hit club, but the 1991 ruling — a discussion, no doubt spurred by the Hawkins game, and a rain-shortened six-inning no-hitter by Melido Perez 11 days later — booted him out. 

Bumgarner’s scheduled seven-inning no-hit effort isn’t even the first scheduled seven-inning no-hit effort in baseball history. That happened in 1906, when Cincinnati’s Jake Weimer shut down Brooklyn. So there is historical precedence. Bumgarner’s plight isn’t unique. It’s just new and therefore a talking point. 

And, yeah, it stinks for Bumgarner that he, essentially, had no chance to join the list. I completely agree. 

That’s why it’s good to have this conversation, because something does need to be done to honor Bumgarner’s gem, Weimer’s gem and Hawkins’ excellent effort. So here’s a solution: MLB needs to create a second “official” list of no-hitters (what does “official” really mean anyway?). Let the one list stay as is, as defined by the 1991 committee’s decision. 

The other one includes everything else: any no-hit effort that falls short of nine innings because of scheduling, rain or darkness, and also any no-hit effort that lasted at least nine innings but ended in extras. Here’s a wonderful collection of those games. That brings Pedro Martinez back into the fold after his nine perfect innings in 1995 and Rich Hill’s nine no-hit frames in 2017 — both ended in the 10th — and Harvey Haddix’s 12 perfect innings that were spoiled by a hit in the 13th in 1959. This second official list would be full of the stories that make baseball great, the quirks and heartbreak and all that good stuff. 

It’s a simple solution. It gives much-deserved, often long-overdue recognition to pitchers who were brilliant, but not by the narrowly defined terms of the 1991 committee’s decision. And it also keeps the traditional list of no-hitters, well, traditional. It’s a win-win.

Make it happen, MLB. And while you’re fixing things, get rid of seven-inning double-headers and magical runners in extra innings. Those are hurting the game.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Connor McDavid hits ‘impressive’ 100-point mark in Oilers’ 53rd game

Published

on

Connor McDavid hits 'impressive' 100-point mark in Oilers' 53rd game

Entering Saturday night’s “Hockey Night in Canada” showdown with the Canucks, Connor McDavid had been downplaying how important scoring 100 points this season was to him.

“It’s a number,” McDavid said when he was sitting on 93 points; he had 96 Saturday morning. “If I get there, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world, either. The most important thing is our team is gearing up for the playoffs and making sure we’re firing on all cylinders in Game 1.”

Well, while he may not have been thinking about it, the smile on his face when he notched point 100 in the second period — his fourth point (goal, three assists) of the night — told a different story. The historic moment came in the Oilers’ 53rd game of the season as he assisted on Leon Draisaitl’s game-winning power-play goal.

“Honestly, it’s just impressive,” said Draisaitl, who hit his own career milestone of 500 (and 501) NHL points in the game. “I don’t think my English is good enough to find another word for it right now, but it’s incredible. I mean, I don’t know, we’ve played 50-some games, he’s at 100 points. It’s just very impressive and just, you know, fun to be a part of.”

“I think what it does, it just solidifies he’s one of the top players to ever play the game,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “The level that he’s played at this year, and just what he’s accomplished, it’s one of those years that you look at Wayne [Gretzky] or you look at Mario [Lemiuex], it’s one of those years where he’s taken his talents to another level that is just elite for the league.”

McDavid, who has 32 goals and 68 assists, became just the ninth player in NHL history to hit the century mark in 53 games, joining the likes of Gretzky and Phil Esposito. The last players to do it were Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr with the Penguins in 1995-96. 

“It’s special to be part of a group like that, obviously. Those are the game’s best players of all time so it’s special to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys,” McDavid said postgame.

“Four-point nights aren’t something that come regularly, I think. I was just trying to come in and play a good game, play like I can,” he said later, adding that he spoke to his parents and was surprised his mom was awake to see it. “My legs felt pretty good. I was able to get on the board on the first shift, that always helps. I think after the first one, it kind of crosses your mind, and I was fortunate to feel pretty good throughout the night and a couple of great shots from my teammates.”

After the Edmonton captain hit the mark, Twitter not only praised him but was also in awe of the moment.

Continue Reading

Sports

Blue Jackets, John Tortorella reportedly parting ways; five landing spots for the veteran coach

Published

on

Blue Jackets, John Tortorella reportedly parting ways; five landing spots for the veteran coach

John Tortorella’s contract with the Blue Jackets expires this summer and The Athletic’s Adam Portzline is reporting that the veteran coach will not be re-signing with the team. The Blue Jackets’ season ended Saturday with a 5-4 overtime win over the Red Wings.

“People talk about a shelf life. I don’t think there’s a shelf life for a coach, but what I believe in is, is it the right fit?” Tortorella said postgame on Zoom when asked if he’d like to return next season. “I think the fit of the coach and the players and personnel, I think that’s the most important thing and that’s something (Jackets GM) Jarmo (Kekalainen) and I have discussed very honestly. Very honestly. I get it. Am I the right fit? These are the things Jarmo and I have talked about.

“I think this will come to a solution very quickly here.”

Tortorella joined the club after it started the 2016-17 season 0-7-0 under Todd Richards.

“John Tortorella is an experienced National Hockey League coach with a proven track record of success,” Kekalainen said at the time of the hire. “He is a Stanley Cup winner, and we believe the right person to lead our team at this time.”

While he didn’t lead the Blue Jackets to a Stanley Cup, he did steer the team to four straight Stanley Cup playoff appearances beginning in 2016-17. The team also had one of the greatest postseason performances in NHL history when it swept the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning in the first round of the 2019 playoffs.

This season, the club finished last in the Central Division with an 18-26-12 record. It marked the first full season in which the club finished under .500 with him at the helm. It didn’t help that the year started shakily with disgruntled forward Pierre-Luc Dubois wanting out of Columbus. He was soon sent packing, but the player for whom he was swapped, Patrik Laine, also seemed to struggle under Tortorella.

Tortorella will leave with a 227-166-54 record for Columbus. Across four teams (Lightning, Blue Jackets, Rangers and Canucks) he has posted an overall record of 672-541-37-132 record and holds the record for most wins among U.S.-born coaches.

While he noted that he joined the Blue Jackets as an older coach, it doesn’t sound as if the 62-year-old wants to hang up his whistle just yet. With that, here’s a quick rundown of five possible landing spots for the colorful coach:

New York Rangers

If David Quinn is shown the door, then could there be a return to Broadway for Tortorella? He did post an impressive 171-118-1-29 record and led the team to four postseason appearances — including a conference final in 2012. Oh, and guess who was captain for him during some of his tenure . . . the guy who was just named the team’s GM and president, Chris Drury.

Vancouver Canucks

Like Tortorella, Travis Green is not signed beyond this season and there could be a vacancy in the Pacific Northwest. The Canucks and Tortorella also have some history — one 82-game season that was, well, interesting, to say the least. Maybe the duo are due for a re-do?

Arizona Coyotes

Bench boss Rick Tocchet is also unsigned beyond this season and he could be shown the door after four seasons in the desert. Tortorella could fit here with the team’s mix of young and veteran players.

Seattle Kraken

All signs are pointing to Gerard Gallant heading to the NHL’s newest club but Tortorella could land here if GM Ron Francis wants to veer off course.

Dallas Stars

Could the Stars part ways with Rick Bowness after the team followed up their trip to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final by missing the postseason? Maybe. Tortorella does have some history with players like Joe Pavelski (Team USA).

Continue Reading

Sports

Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders live fight updates, results, highlights from 2021 boxing card

Published

on

Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders live fight updates, results, highlights from 2021 boxing card

One fighter will get closer to the first undisputed super middleweight championship in boxing history when WBC, WBA (Super) and The Ring champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez faces off against WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday.

The massive 168-pound showdown will take place in front of a live crowd of more than 70,000, breaking the attendance record for an indoor boxing event in the United States. And who better than Alvarez, boxing’s current pound-for-pound king, to be in the main event?

Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) has pursued the undisputed championship since beating Callum Smith for the WBA (Super) and vacant WBC crown in December. He followed that performance with a third-round stoppage of mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in February before turning right back around in hopes of collecting another title against Saunders on Saturday night.

Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) is a two-division world champion who claimed the WBO title in May 2019 by defeating Shefat Isufi via unanimous decision. He has made two consecutive title defenses, but his opponent in Texas will be his toughest test by far.

There has been some bad blood between the two heading into the fight; Canelo promised a knockout, while Saunders aims to befuddle the Mexican superstar with his technical prowess.

Who will come out on top? Stay tuned as Sporting News will have live coverage of tonight’s fight card.

MORE: Watch Canelo vs. Saunders live on DAZN

Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders live updates, highlights

Sporting News’ live coverage of Canelo-Saunders will begin at 9 p.m. ET.

Canelo vs. Saunders start time

  • Main card: 8 p.m. ET
  • Canelo-Saunders main event: 11 p.m. ET (approximate)

The Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders main card launches at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night, with the champions expected to make their ring walks at approximately 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, depending on the length of the earlier fights.

How to watch Canelo vs. Saunders

  • Subscription: $19.99/month or $99.99/year

The Canelo vs. Saunders fight will stream live globally on DAZN, to more than 200 countries and territories, including the U.S. and Canada.

Those interested in watching the fight can find DAZN on a number of different systems, including, but not limited to, Amazon Fire TV/stick, Android, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, iPhone and iPad, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Roku. The DAZN app is also available on LG, Samsung and Vizio smart TVs, as well as Xfinity X1 and Flex.

Viewers can also find it on DAZN.com using browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Click here to learn more about DAZN.

Canelo vs. Saunders fight card

  • Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders for the Canelo’s WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super-middleweight titles, and Saunders’ WBO title
  • Marc Castro vs. Irving Castillo
  • Frank Sanchez vs. Nagy Aguilera
  • Edwin Soto vs. Katsunari Takayama for Soto’s WBO light-flyweight title
  • Kieron Conway vs. Souleymane Cissokho for Conway’s WBA Intercontinental super-welterweight title
  • Keyshawn Davis vs. Jose Antonia Meza
  • Kelvin Davis vs. Jan Maslaek

Continue Reading

Trending