Saturday, July 12, 2008

SPORTS: It Was ThatClose!

Is it Don Adams whispering "It was thatclose" in my ear or the echo of my own words from this past winter? Roy Halladay had no-hit stuff tonight in the Toronto Blue Jays' whitewashing of the New York Yankees. Unfortunately, Vernon Wells was NOT in centrefield and a late clean hit by Derek Jeter meant the Yanks totaled two hits in the game.

Back in the winter, at the time of the Scott Rolen acquisition, I opined that some day this season, when the Blue Jays were playing their top defensive squad of Gregg Zaun, Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, John McDonald, Rolen, Reed Johnson, Wells and Alex Rios, Halladay would spin a no-hitter. With Johnson gone to the Chicago Cubs, Hill and Wells hurt and Rios on leave to be with his pregnant wife (Baby girl, as it turns out), my prediction didn't have a chance of actually occurring. In fact, McDonald and Zaun didn't start the game either. David Eckstein and Rod Barajas did, as did second baseman Marco Scutaro and emergency outfielders Joe Inglett, Brad Wilkerson and Adam Lind, none of whom has spent the whole year with the club.

Truly, it was a motley crew standing behind Halladay.

Didn't matter. He just mowed the Yankees down like they were the Staten Island Yankees. The only hit before the ninth came in the fourth when Madonna's favourite boy toy dropped a liner in front of Wilkerson. Either Wells or Rios probably catches Alex Rodriguez's hit. With both in the line-up, Rios would have been playing right in the ninth when Jeter found room to drop in a ground rule double. New daddy Rios would have been in the vicinity, especially if a no-no was on the line.

Still, given the no no-no, the play MOST people will be talking about was a co-production by Scutaro and McDonald (in as a defensive replacement). One of NINE grounders to second-baseman Scutaro in the game saw the super-sub range far to his right and glove a Wilson Betemit grounder to McDonald, crossing in front of him. McDonald counter-pivoted away from first base and threw a blind strike to Overbay to nip Betemit. Just a routine 4-6-3 out!

If sports is at least partially about entertainment, give me Halladay and McDonald any day. You never know, you might see a no-hitter.

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