How players deal with a no-hitter in progress is unequivocal. Shut up, never mention it and stay the hell away from the pitcher.
Broadcasters, however, own a different set of responsibilities. It’s in their job description, after all, to tell the audience what’s happening on the field. Said ex-big-leaguer-turned-broadcaster Steve Lyons, “If you want people to stay tuned, you should probably mention, ‘Hey, hang in there, don’t go anywhere—guy’s throwing a no-hitter.’ ”
Of course, not every broadcaster feels this way.
Buck Martinez spent 17 years as a major league catcher, and managed the Blue Jays for a season-and-a-half. During that time the lessons he learned apparently became quite ingrained.
Martinez now broadcasts Blue Jays games, and so far this young season has had two opportunities to describe home-team no-hitters into the deep innings. Except that he didn’t.
From Bruce Dowbiggin’s column in the Globe and Mail:
As Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero no-hit their opponents until late in the game, viewers discovered “no-hitter” seemed to be the hardest words to say for Martinez and analyst Pat Tabler (also a former player).
There were euphemisms about players not rounding first base successfully. Or suggestions that opponents lacked for men on base. But the no-no was a no-no between Martinez and Tabler.
“I guess I’m still a baseball player at heart,” Martinez said yesterday. “I was a little reluctant to say the words. It’s not like we’re in the dugout. But I know that players have the TV on in the clubhouse, and I’d hate for a young guy to go in there and hear me say ‘no-hitter.’ I don’t know what it might do to him. I suppose old habits die hard.”
Of course, during David Cone’s perfect game in 1999, he went to the clubhouse after every inning, where he heard Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay “say I had a perfect game from the fifth inning on.”
Things still managed to work out okay.
3 thoughts on “Talking About a No-Hitter, Broadcasters Edition”
Any broadcaster who still thinks he’s on the bench is a fool. Buck Martinez qualifies.
After Mark Buehrle finished the 8th inning of his perfect game last year, broadcaster Ken Harrelson shouted, “Call your sons! Call your daughters! Call your friends! Call your neighbors! Mark Buehrle has a perfect game going into the ninth!” I cringed, but it worked out okay for Buehrle.