Monday, September 3, 2007

What Is More Rare than A World Series Championship in Boston?




A no hitter pitched in Fenway, that's what.


I just got finished watching Boston Red Sox rookie pitcher Clay Buchholz pitch that gem from last Saturday evening. I can do this since I pay MLB.com loads of money to watch any baseball game I like on their site.
Even my Cardinals! Late at night, mostly.


Anyone can watch baseball on the internet at mlb.com/scoreboard/ , just click any game prior to today, and it's FREE!


But back to the extraordinary event that occurred in Boston on September 1.

Clay Buchholz is a 23 year old rookie pitcher, having spent the last two plus years in the minors. He was called up once earlier, and pitched 6 innings against the Angles on August 17, giving up 3 runs. At Pawtucket, Buchholz had a 2.61 ERA in 12 Pawsox games this year. Not an overpowering fastball by MLB standards, but respectable, in the low 90s, a change-up, but also a sterling 12 to 6 curve ball... more on this guy's curve ball later.

But I don't see even that part of his amazing story being the best part of his no-no against Baltimore this weekend: Can any baseball fan worth his salt, ever imagine a no hitter thrown in Fenway Park, home of the Green Monster? Well heck, I could get a hit off the Monster, just hit it high and far to left field!! It might take me 99 ABs, but I'd get a hit!

But no Oriole did that Saturday.
They couldn't. Not able to.


Buchholz's pitches were electric! His curve-ball made my eyes water! You could see that his curve was going to fall into the strike zone an instant the ball left his right hand! His slider was baffling to the O's as well (not to mention Red Sox catcher Jason Veritek), and it was these two pitches that gained him a high seat in Boston Red Sox lore.


Here is what The Red Sox Times said about Buchholz, back in mid July:

"A kid who looks no more than a day older than 18 is currently the top prospect in the Red Sox farm system, and one of the top, if not the top, pitching prospect in Major League Baseball. That kid is the 22-year old Clay Buchholz, who’s pitching repertoire and mental make-up all point to him being a star one day."


And this pitcher's luck did not start on Saturday, September 1. The story continues:


The Red Sox drafted Buchholz in the supplemental round of the 2005 MLB First Year Player Draft with the 42nd overall pick. Buchholz had been projected as a first round talent, but an incident during his last year of junior college raised questions about his character, and his stock plummeted, all the way into the hands of the Boston Red Sox. Buchholz was arrested, along with another JuCo teammate, for stealing and then selling school laptops. The Red Sox had projected him to go mid-first round and were beyond excited to be able to see Buchholz still available at pick 42. The Red Sox had spoken with Clay beforehand, and were confident that the incident was a one-time thing, and that his character was not a question."


Being the World Series Champs the year before, the Red Sox had the last draft pick in the 2005 college draft. Just like what happens in the NFL draft, the winner of the Super Bowl goes last in draft picks.


So Clay Buchholz was destined to be some kind of Horatio Alger type success story, from lap top computer thief to the toast of Back Bay Boston in two years!!


Way to go, dude! American success stories are what I like best, and when it happens within the spendid world of baseball, that time-less blessing of G*D to us, EVEN BETTER!


Go Sox! See ya'll in October, guys!

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