Dave Sims, Larry Stone, No-Hitter Etiquette

Don’t Talk About a No-Hitter, Chapter 4 (and We’re Still in April)

Seattle pitcher Doug Fister took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last night against the Baltimore Orioles. On the television broadcast, Dave Sims and Mike Blowers refrained from referring to the feat through the first six frames—at which point Sims went to commercial with the comment, “14 straight scoreless innings for Fister, and a six-inning no-hit bid tonight.”

Sure enough, the first Baltimore batter in the seventh, Nick Markakis, singled up the middle.

Needless to say, Sims took some heat, particularly via Twitter. One need look no farther than his string of replies to get an idea about what kind of venom was being sent in his direction.

Hey Mariners fans re: Fister no-hit bid–my job is telling the story, not cowering to jinx theories.Go Mariners!
about 16 hours ago via web

@PositivePauly Pauly, if the best anncr ever, Vin Scully, doesn’t
subscribe to the no-hitter jinx stuff, it’s plenty good 4 me.
about 16 hours ago via Echofon in reply to PositivePauly

@REALPeterMag Pete, my job is to tell the game story, not adhere
to jinx theories.
about 16 hours ago via Echofon in reply to REALPeterMag

@dpmiv Pete, jinx’ are not my concern, telling the story is my job.
about 16 hours ago via Echofon in reply to dpmiv

@PositivePauly Dude, relax!
about 16 hours ago via Echofon in reply to PositivePauly

@Hodepwns Fans’ jinx belong to them, not to b’casters!
about 16 hours ago via Echofon in reply to Hodepwns

@JrDub83 Thx for the heads up, but jinx’ aren’t my concern. Telling
the story is my job!
about 16 hours ago via Echofon in reply to JrDub83

@JrDub83 My job is to tell the story, not adhere to your
superstition. It’s not announcer’s fault Markakis hit a bullet thru the 5hole.
about 16 hours ago via web in reply to JrDub83

As far as I’m concerned, the best thing about the incident is that it inspired Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, the best chronicler of the unwritten rules in the newspaper business, to weigh in:

I even took some heat myself last night (mostly good-natured. I think.) for blogging that Fister had a no-hitter going, and for talking about it in the press box. One, I don’t believe in no-hit jinxes, and I certainly don’t believe in them when it comes to a reporter covering the game. Pitchers lose no-hitters because it’s exceedingly hard to retire 27 batters without giving up a base hit, not because an announcer, or a sportswriter, had the audacity to talk about it.

I, too, fall into this camp. I certainly don’t fault Blowers (a former player) and those like him, who find creative ways to work around actually mentioning those words during the course of a broadcast. But should should a play-by-play man decide to do his job and inform listeners in a clear voice about what’s going on, more power to him.

After all, David Cone listened to Michael Kay talk about his 1999 perfect game over and over while in the clubhouse between innings, and it didn’t set back his cause any. Sims is in a similar situation; he’s not the one who gave up the hit to Markakis, and he shouldn’t be the one blamed for it.

Find our other posts on the topic here, here and here.

– Jason