Editor’s note: The insane pace of baseball greatness continues, as New York Yankee ace Corey Kluber became the sixth pitcher in 2021 to throw a no-hitter, as he completed a Wednesday gem.
The year in Major League Baseball has started out with something interesting taking place. Instead of it being about home runs and concerns about balls – or the players hitting them – being “juiced”, it this year is about the dominance of pitching. Already, in the first six weeks of the season, there have been five no-hitters in the big leagues, the most recent coming last night with the Detroit Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull turning the feat against the Seattle Mariners in a 5-0 Tigers win at the Mariners’ T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington, and becoming the second pitcher to no-hit the Mariners in Seattle in two weeks, joining Baltimore Orioles hurler John Means, who did it earlier this month.
Those two, along with the Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Rodon, Cincinnati Reds’ Wade Miley, and San Diego Padres’ Joe Musgrove, are the no-hitter artists this year, and that perhaps inspires conversation about whether the game needs to be changed again to prevent these tremendous performances from becoming a normal part of things. Well, we here at Liberty Park Press don’t think that to be the case, and instead, think that people should enjoy these moments for what they are, as truly special, not just for the pitchers themselves or their teams and their fans, but also for their entire communities. Why?
Think about this for a moment. Turnbull has had his challenges as a major league player. According to BaseballReference.com, the pitcher, who hails from Alabama, went 3-17 in 2019, one of the worst records that a starting pitcher has had ever in baseball. To go from that to what he was able to do last night is simply amazing stuff. And what to say of how this perhaps can impact the kids in his hometown now all chasing the same dreams he realized last night. Demopolis, Ala., is Turnbull’s home town, and it seems to be just like any other rural Alabama community, with a population of just under 7,000. If you are a parent of a Little Leaguer or high school player in that community, what kind of message can this send to those kids? A great one, about how hard work and dedication to getting better can result in tremendous moments like last night’s. When word of this spreads around that community, as we’d guess it’s doing today, the impact this may have on those kids could be life-changing for hopefully more than a few of them.
Or how about Musgrove? The Padres, until Musgrove completed the feat during an April game against the Texas Rangers, hadn’t had one of their pitchers throw a no-hitter in the entire history of the franchise, which dates back to 1969 and includes a pair of World Series appearances. Musgrove became the first, and what made it extra special – and a great human-interest story in itself – is that he is from San Diego, having graduated from nearby El Cajon’s Grossmont High School. So the ultimate story of the “hometown kid done good” which can serve to drive interest even among non-fans of the game and once again set an example for the current kids at Grossmont about what’s possible with drive and commitment.
So as you can see, these moments need to be approached in the context of how special they are for the pitchers who make them – especially since all of these guys who have thrown the no-no’s this year haven’t exactly been nationally-known names in baseball – and how they can be teaching moments for kids, both in the teams’ home cities and in the players’ hometowns, about achieving dreams and goals and the hard work it will take to get there.
So let’s celebrate and give a big pat on the back to Turnbull, Means, Miley, Musgrove and Rodon for their jobs well done and enjoy these special moments. Because they can, and perhaps will, mean a lot for many more than just the guys who have them.