The Pirates and Reds headed into the sixth inning on a cool autumn Friday night and a buzz began throughout the PNC Park crowd of 34,796. Reds pitcher Homer Bailey had not allowed a single hit to the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates. As the game progressed more excitement began to generate.
Some typical Pittsburgh fans of course began their traditional early exit from the park. My friends and I figured that they either were totally oblivious to what was happening or they were worried that their car was going to turn into a pumpkin at 10:00pm. We were not surprised. Sitting in the stands, I was conflicted on how to react to a potential no-hitter. On one hand I wanted the Pirates to get that one hit to avoid another embarrassment in yet another disappointing season. On the other hand, I wanted to witness a no-hitter in person since it is such a rare feat. The ninth inning arrived and I decided to root for Bailey.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Pirates outfielder Alex Presley came to the plate, fans were on their feet to witness history. Presley quickly popped out to the outfield grass to Reds second baseman Brandon Philips to clinch the no-hitter. This was the seventh no-hitter this season and 279th all time. Homer Bailey's final line was 9 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 10 K, and 1 BB. The Reds right-hander had allowed only two base runners during the course of the game, a walk and another Pirate reached on a fielding error.
The Pirates had not been no-hit since Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson performed the feat in 1971. Being a huge baseball fan, this was one of those moments that any enthusiast had to see once in a lifetime. Friends and I took the opportunity to savor the masterpiece that we just witnessed, snapping photos of the throng of Bailey's teammates congratulating him near the mound and the scoreboard displaying the 0's lining the Pirates line score. Sure there were some fans who seemed upset and displayed apathy to the event as this was an exclamation point to the Pirates historic collapse.
This rare accomplishment is something I may never see again in person so it was appropriate to soak it all in. I just cannot imagine the thrill this would have been had a Pirate tossed a hit less game. What's next to cross off on this baseball fan's bucket list? A perfect game? Visiting classic ballparks around the country? A World Series win by the hometown team will suit me just fine.