It's funny, just last week my friend and I were discussing no-hitters after Shannon Stewart ruined Schillings bid in the bottom of the ninth. I vaguely remember mentioning how much I would love to be in attendance for one. Regardless of who's tossing it. As unimaginable as that was just a week ago. It's become a reality, as my favorite pitcher in the big's put on one hell of a show last night.
Even funnier to me now is this. The day I didn't get to see Verlander pitch because it was "too cold" here in Detroit. Until yesterday, I still hadn't seen him pitch, in person that is. But yesterday, I not only got seen him pitch. I got to see him etch his name into the history books, at just 24 years old (though older than I).
Now I'm going to attempt to re-hash what went on inside Comerica Park yesterday. To the best of my ability.
We arrived at the Park about 5 o'clock. Just in time for the gates to open as batting practice took place out on the field. It was a nice day, as many have been of late around here. But it didn't seem any nicer than Saturday was.
We scoped out our seating area and took a few pictures before heading down to the first baseline. To hopefully get a ball. No such luck though. We grabbed a little alcohol and headed for our seats. About 7 rows off the field behind Magglio Ordonez in right field. For $20 these were absolutely fantastic seats.
It was a pitchers duel early as both Suppan and Verlander started off well. Before Suppan surrendered a solo shot to Brandon Inge in the bottom of the third. Soon after, one of my friends and I hit a couple of concession stands as Verlander sat down Prince with a knee-buckling curve.
(Speaking of Prince, he was a big part of why I wanted to see the Brewers. Being Cecil's son and all I wanted to catch him live. We purchased the tickets a month and a half ago so Verlander taking the hill was just a bonus.)
We returned to our seats and of course, ate. But not long after (5th), one of my friends asked the other two of us if "we were aware of what was going on?" We both gave a nod and a "yeah," as we watched Verlander sit down one Brewer after another.
It wasn't until the 7th inning that I'd say any of us believed it might happen. After Verlander snapped Prince's one-hopper out of the air and Magglio made one of the sweetest catches I've ever seen live. It was beginning to feel like it was meant to happen, rather than might.
(Magglio's catch, by the way was absolutely amazing from my vantage point. I honestly didn't think he had a shot at it. But this is probably one of many reason I don't play baseball for a living.)
In the 8th, I've never been so happy in my life to have Neifi Perez in the lineup. Carlos Guillen doesn't make that play. Let alone the stop to begin with. As much as I love Guillen his defense tends to leave a lot to be desired. Anyway, the little Neifi flip to Polanco who finished the double play was one of those plays where you can just feel it. I've never been so nervous at a baseball game in my life. Especially one that I had absolutely no "real" control over.
(I actually complained when I seen Neifi was playing instead of Omar Infante. But, he's not making that play either. Score one for the defensive specialist. Who's bat is still in a FedEx warehouse somewhere.)
As Verlander took the mound in the ninth everyone in the building was on their feet. Watching in awe as he struck out Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino again. The latter couldn't have looked worse at the plate all day, racking up an Andruw Jones like 4K effort.
J.J. Hardy was it, he was all that stood between the Tigers young "ace" and history. After hitting 102MPH on the gun in the NINTH inning. Verlander got Hardy to fly out to right. Directly in front of where we were sitting to give every one of us something to remember.
I'll never be able to truly explain what went on inside Comerica Park last night. But, my chest still hurts from my heart pounding through those last few outs. And I'm pushing 24 hours after heading to work after the game. But, I can say this.... I shared an experience with 33,555 last night that I'll certainly never forget. And I don't think they will either.
Note: Pictures are coming, my camera died after taking a few during BP and I'm waiting for one of my friends to upload them.