I don't consider myself to be a lucky person. However, I was mad lucky this past evening. Like only 46000+ other people, I was in attendance for Roy Halladay's no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS last night. My uncle somehow managed to get six tickets (4 and 2, separate rows), albeit at most ten rows from the top behind home plate, but it's the playoffs, I'll sit on the roof. OK, maybe not the roof. It was raining. We don't like that.
After Halladay recorded his first out, my cousin Andrew turned to me and asked if anybody had ever pitched a perfect game in the playoffs. I thought it might have been a little presumptuous to be discussing a perfect game with one out in the first, but I took the suggestion as a joke because, come on, games like that don't jump to mind until about the fifth inning. I did actually know that Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the World Series a while ago, but I was not at the time aware that that was the only no-hitter in postseason. I was also looking to see what Halladay could show in the postseason, what with no career playoff starts and Cliff Lee's 10-strikeout performance earlier in the day setting a standard for his replacement in Philly.
The great thing about Phillies fans, especially in playoff games, is that everything that goes well turns into a riot in the stands. The Utley sac fly in the first garnered a rousing ovation, and the building was rocking when Halladay's blooper dropped in front of the Reds' left fielder. By the sixth inning, people were starting to look around them and see if anyone else's stomach was starting to churn. Or maybe it was just the crab fries.
My cousins, while totally not-subtle, did a great job of keeping up with proper baseball superstition by not saying the words "no-hitter." Like when my over-concerned cousin Melanie tried to get us to agree to start walking toward the exit an inning or so early so we could skip traffic, and I pleaded with her to wait until the end of the 8th inning to make any decisions on that front, Andrew chimed in, "Oh, I know what you're talking about!" Yes, you do. Check the scoreboard, playa.
Best part about playoff games: EVERY PITCH in the last three innings is life-or-death. Every strike evokes a roar, every ball evokes boos. People were going nuts. My cousins even wanted the Phillies to just go down in order in the ninth so that we could pay more attention to the gem that Halladay was throwing. Fortunately, I guess, they obliged.
Well as you know, Halladay completed the no-hitter, with the whole stadium (and I mean the whole stadium: nobody had left) freaking out. I managed to "record" the last out on my phone, but you can't really see the play. It's basically just useful as a gauge of the crowd reaction before (noise), during (silence), and after (bedlam) the last play of the game. My cousins tried to record it as well, but one only recorded the post-out celebration, and the other didn't have the camera pointed at the field while the last out was being recorded. Oh well. Memories, baby.
That has to be the best game I've ever been to. Has to. Only 2 out of over 2000 playoff starts have resulted in a no-hitter. Ever. And I was there. Here's how I would stack up my Phillies game experiences:
1. Halladay no-hitter, Game 1 2010 NLCS
2. 2008 World Series Game 3: Long rain delay, walkoff infield single, craziness
3. 7/24/2010, Diamond Club seats (second row behind home plate): We beat up Ubaldo Jimenez, and I was on TV!
4. 4/27/2003: Kevin Millwood throws a no-hitter as I watch on the TV in the concourse so we can bolt out of there. Didn't make that mistake again.
5. 8/6/2009: Cliff Lee's home debut in Philadelphia, sat in the first row behind the Phillies bullpen. I even got a ball after the last out of an inning was recorded!
Since 4 out of 5 of these games were attended solely as a result of me having fortunate relatives, I would just like to give mad ups to my Uncle David for being who he is, and to their entire family for considering me important enough that I get invited to all of these games. Sometimes, just being a fan does have its benefits.