It’s been 48 hours since I witnessed the greatest game I’ve ever been to and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.
I have been to spectacular games. I was at the Aaron Boone game. I saw a scoreless game go to 15 innings. I watched Roger Clemens get his 300th career win. I saw my favorite team win the World Series - more than once.
But watching Roy Halladay throw a no-hitter was bigger than them all.
Normally, throughout a baseball game I’m busy writing copy. I have to work on notes and sidebars, typing up blogs and tweets. By the seventh inning, my typing had mostly stopped (though I’m sure there were some tweets).
I had to stop because my hands were shaking. My heart sped up and by the ninth inning, I could fell my heartbeat in every part of my body right down to my toes.
I’ve seen so many special games, but knew I was witnessing something amazing the more Halladay pitched.
On the last at-bat, when Brandon Philips hit a small dribbler in front of the plate, I’m pretty sure my heart completely stopped. This was the toughest play any fielder had to make the entire game.
The ball was tipped off Phillips’ bat and hit the bat again as he got out of the batter’s box. There is no out here because intent has to be established for the batter to be called out.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz dropped to his knees to field the ball and my hands jumped to my mouth. I was holding my breath.
Ruiz threw the ball to first and Ryan Howard squeezed it tight.
The capacity crowd erupted and I slumped back into my chair.
The first no-hitter I have ever seen and I got to do it with about 47,000 other people. And it was just the second one in postseason history.
Two days later, the Phillies were still talking about it, but how can you not?
I’m still thinking about it.
The interesting thing about Halladay is his work ethic. Many people would relive the accomplishment even if it’s just in private. However, I feel like when Halladay says he’s just focused on the postseason right now, he means it. He turned down Letterman, the Today Show and CNN on Thursday because he didn’t want the no-hitter to distract from what he and his teammates are trying to do. Plus, it was his son’s birthday.
After his 1:15 p.m. press conference on Friday, which was over an hour earlier than when the press conferences start, Halladay took to the field to start his daily routine. At that time of day, more than five hours before the start of Game 2, the only other people on the field were the grounds crew.
Halladay works harder than any pitcher I’ve ever seen, which made Wednesday a treat, but not a surprise.
Halladay is one of the best pitchers to ever play and I was lucky enough to witness the second-best game he ever pitched.
I love baseball.