A screen shot from the FSW telecast of the Angels-Twins game Wednesday night — and the only mention of Jered Weaver’s no-hit bit through eight innings.
Did everyone witnessing Jered Weaver pitch on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium fully realize he was throwing a no-hitter as the seventh, eighth and ninth innings rolled around?
Maybe not so much if you were watching it unfold on the Fox Sports West telecast.
Again, broadcasters Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza tied themselves in knots to avoid using of the phrase “no-hitter” or anything close to that reference as Weaver weaved his way through the Minnesota Twins lineup.
The tension and drama built, but the words didn’t match the pictures in every instance.
No matter what your superstitions are as a broadcaster — especially those of a former player, which Rojas and Gubicza are — this approach that you can jinx a no-no by merely mentioning it only becomes more of a disservice to alerting viewers of an historic event, leaving it to the producer and director of the telecast to hope that folks have paid close attention to the graphics that keep flashing on the screen as the way to tell the story.
If the worry is that an equally superstitious viewer would call the broadcasters out for ruining the bid if they mentioned it may not have heard Vin Scully - or practically every other big-league broadcaster – accurately paint the picture of a gem like this as it’s happening.
Just go back a couple Saturdays to Fox’s coverage of Phil Humber’s perfect game for the Chicago White Sox at Seattle. Fox cut away from its Red Sox-Yankees coverage, going to 99 percent of the country, to join that game in progress so that Dave Sims and Eric Karros could call it – and they mentioned quite excitedly the fact it was a perfect game several times in the ninth inning.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Angels pitcher Jered Weaver celebrates with his wife Kristin after pitching a a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
“Another one-two-three inning for Jered Weaver” might cut it after the sixth inning, as Rojas said after the third out was recorded. But when Weaver issued his first walk to a Twins hitter with two outs in the seventh, did that end a perfect game bid? We had no idea.
“Seventh inning stretch time at the Big A!” Rojas said after Weaver got through seven innings, with a shot of the fans giving him a standing ovation. Why again were they doing that?
“Jered Weaver has been in command in this one – eight strikeouts and a walk,” Rojas opened the eighth – with the bottom of the screen displaying the inning-by-inning zeros. Oh, and no hits, it could have been noted.
At last, a graphic popped up with two outs in the eighth (see above), calling attention to the fact that five pitchers in Angels’ history have thrown no-hitters. Thanks for that update.
“He’s into the bottom of the eighth with the Angels’ on top,” Rojas understated after a pop foul ended the inning and left three outs to go.
Only after the last out was made did Rojas exclaim: “Jered Weaver has no-hit the Twins! Light that baby up!”
This superstition disposition became more of an issue a year ago, when the Angels’ Ervin Santana was throwing a no-hitter at Cleveland that neither Rojas nor Gubicza would mention it – despite the fact Santana had given up a run, making the feat not so obvious to viewers who saw the score graphic in the corner of the screen.
Flash back to 2008 (two years before Rojas arrived with the Angels) when Weaver and reliever Jose Arredondo combined to no-hit the Dodgers over eight innings in Dodger Stadium, only to lose. That no-hit element was the storyline to the game — especially as Scully described it.
Honesty can work. Honestly. And there can be a payoff.
As in the question MLB Network studio host Harold Reynolds asked Weaver during a live post-game interview about superstitious behavior he witnessed: “We noticed you getting your gum, in your normal routine, but in the eighth inning, man, you got us nervous. We saw you get up and run to the bathroom, or where ever you went out of the dugout. What was going on?”
Here’s how Weaver explained it (go to the 1:53 mark):
That’s the right word for it, directed at broadcasters who think they’re going to affect the outcome of a game.
Let it go.
Note: Weaver’s no-hitter will re-air twice today on Fox Sports West, at noon and 4:30 p.m.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Angels pitcher Jered Weaver, left, hugs manager Mike Scioscia in the manager’s office after pitching a no-hitter Wednesday.