On this date, August 15, eight years ago, a friend of mine on Facebook alerted all within his circle of influence that history was very possibly in the making.
Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners ace, was three outs away from a no-hitter.
“Tune in for the top of the ninth!”
Our son, then residing two hours and 13 minutes to the north, stepped out of the doctor’s office where he’d taken his son for a visit, and listened in as the late-game drama unfolded.
So did I, typing as best I could the play-by-play on my own Facebook notifications as fast as they were relayed by Rick Rizzs, voice of the Mariners, broadcasting on the Mariners flagship station 710 KIRO.
“One down! Struck out! Number 11. Struck out the side in the 6th and the 8th. Retired 25 in a row!
“Twenty-six in a row! Grounder to short thrown out at first! Twenty thousand on their feet! One out away from history!
“Count is two-and-one, two down, one to go!
“Strike. Two. Called! Count is even! One strike away!
“Strike three called! He’s done it! He’s done it! The first in Mariner’s history! Mobbed at the mound! Unbelievable! 27 up, 27 down!
“One of the most dominating performances in Major League Baseball history!”
0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0!
No Tampa Bay Rays reached first base. No hits. Twelve strikeouts.
It was a perfect game.
History was made.
For two hours and 22 minutes the world was forgotten, popcorn long since scattered, no one wanted to leave.
Including those of us glued to the radio, imagining the mob at the mound.
Just the other day, our son needed some work done on his house. The voice answering the phone of the company he called for a bid listened to our son’s request.
And then the voice said, ‘This wouldn’t happen to be my old baseball coach would it?’
And just as fast as you could say ‘Play Ball’, the reason our son had called, and the company the young man represented, was forgotten.
It was: The. Game.
He strode to the plate, the pitcher went into his wind, the batter swung.
The ball arched skyward into the blue; the center fielder went back-back, way-back to the fence.
And turned and looked, as did proud parents, players, coaches and fans, the world forgotten, popcorn scattered, and then watched the mob at home plate.
He was 10 years old.
Twenty years had gone by, but he’d not forgotten.
They never do.