Saturday, December 23, 2006

MSD Top 10 Miami Sports Stories of 2006: 7.

Well, it’s late December which means it’s the time for television shows, magazines, websites and blogs to present their obligatory 2006 Best Of … lists. And the MSD is no exception. So, here is the Miami Sports Dude’s Top 10 Miami Sports Stories of 2006. I’ll be counting down the top ten from 10 to 1 in the next two weeks. And remember, there is to be no wagering of any kind ... and now, on with the countdown ...

#7. Can’t Hit This
Al Leiter. Kevin Brown. AJ Burnett. All pitchers that threw no-hitters as members of the Florida Marlins.

And on a muggy September night in Miami, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 22 year old Anibal Sanchez put his name on that historical list. Baseball fans had not seen a no-hitter since 2004, when Randy Johnson no-hit the Braves in a perfect game. Until September 6, 2006 -- when Anibal Sanchez no-hit the Diamondbacks.

So here was Sanchez, in just his 14th major league start, fresh out of the Red Sox farm system – a player who was a kind of afterthought in the Josh Beckett – Hanley Ramirez deal – standing like a giant on the pitcher’s mound at The Stadium with the whole country watching as ESPN began to broadcast the game. And not a single Arizona player was able to get a hit off him all night.

It was the embodiment of this Florida Marlins teams’ scrappiness. A team that no one gave a chance, a team that was the town’s embarrassment and a team that was dismissed as a AAA ball club. A team that had no business being on the same field as Big Leaguers.

The odds were against them all season. But nothing was going to prevent Sanchez from making history on this night. Not even ESPN -- who had jinxed no-hit bids by two other pitchers that same week, including the talented Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs -- was going to keep Sanchez from his date with destiny. Every time a pitcher was close to a no-hitter, the network would post it on their site and broadcast it to their television audience as it happened. Apparently the World Wide Leader in Sports doesn’t know about the rule of not mentioning a no-hitter while a possible no-hitter is in process, lest you jinx the pitcher. Douchebags.

In any event, Sanchez would not be denied. And he made history on that night of September the 6th. It was the team’s first no-hitter since 2001. And once the last out was recorded, we witnessed the magnificent moment as his teammates mobbed him and carried him on their shoulders, an emotionally spent Sanchez lifting his arms in triumph and exultation.

The next day the internet was abuzz over Sanchez’s no-hitter. Of course, the Herald, Sentinel and all other sites covered it. But no site epitomized the no-hitter, and the state of the Florida Marlins as a whole, better than SporTech Matter did. It was both funny and sad all at the same time.

Either way – it was a glorious night for Sanchez and Marlins fans everywhere. All 25 of us.

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One of my very favorite stories of the year. Excellent post Dude.
Thanks JD

I remember watching this in the lobby of my hotel when I was in Colorado during my vacation. It was an awesome reminder of home. And everybody in the place knew I was a Fish Man! Great night.
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