As the old saying goes, "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story". In the aftermath of Florida Marlins’ Anibal Sanchez’s no-hitter Wednesday night, it appears that ESPN, MSG, SNY, all the network news shows and every other highlight show I watched on TV decided to follow this old moniker. There were many catchy angles to this story— "Anibal breaks the longest no-hitter drought in major league history”, "Sanchez throws first no-hitter in over two years", "Marlins’ hurler becomes first rookie since Bud Smith in 2001 to toss a no-hitter", but not one, NOT ONE slow-motion replay of the final out of this historic moment. Why is this a big deal? Well, because to the naked eye Eric Byrnes looked SAFE! How’s this for a story headline, "Umpire blows call on last play of a no-hitter!". I mean didn’t one sports producer think that it might have made a good story to highlight the drama of such a close play. And not just any play, but the last play of a no-hitter.
If you read the paper tomorrow, the print media will have you believe that Byrnes was retired on a routine ground out. But, in truth, shortstop Hanley Ramirez turned into a nervous nellie and took his sweet time in throwing the ball over to first, and what should have been routine became a bang-bang play. Byrnes actually might have had himself an infield hit. Now, I’m not saying he was definitely safe, but it was so dang close that the sports media might have wanted to show at least one slow motion angle to its audience so we could get a closer look. I mean for godsake, there was only a no-hitter on the line! But, who am I to get in the way of a good story? Have your no-hitter, rejoice in it, dream about it, mark it in the record books, but please when you retell the story to your grandkids of how it went down, remember to tell them that Eric Byrnes might have actually been robbed of a hit on the last play of the game by an overzealous umpire. Remember to tell them that this might have been one of the greatest blown calls in recent baseball history. And remember to tell them that Anibal’s no-hitter might not have been a no-hitter afterall. But, without a slow motion replay we’ll never know.