A baseball pitcher taking a no-hitter into the late innings of a game is like no other feeling I can think of in sports. In attempting to reach a moment they dreamed about in their backyards since they were toddlers, pitchers are able provide fans with an unforgettable experience of their own.
Sure, every sport brings its own list of amazing accomplishments to be had. Basketball players can reach incredible point totals, a hockey player can score a hat-trick, and even on the offensive side of baseball, a player hitting for the cycle is a sight to be seen.
A no-hitter, though, is something different. It makes a game go from exciting to being must-see TV, the type where you start picking up your phone to make sure all your friends have their eyes glued to the same channel your eyes are. When it's a player on your favorite team with the attempt at making history, it makes every moment memorable - either your team is up to bat trying to give the pitcher some run support to take away some of the pressure, or, in one of those rare occasions, you look forward to seeing the other team take their shot at your pitcher. You sit there, almost rooting for your team to bat quickly, just so that the pitcher can head back to that mound and take more steps towards the accomplishment. You feel every pitch coming out of the pitcher's hand, you cringe every time the batter makes contact with the ball, and every out made is a gigantic sigh of relief.
The ultimate sigh of relief, though, is what we all sit there dreaming about. Unlike so many of those other sports accomplishments, the no-hitter has finality to it. Managing to get 27 outs without allowing a hit; going from the first pitch of the game to the last without even one batter managing to hit their way on-base. Let alone a bid at a perfect game, where not a single batter even reaches base, through a walk or error or any of the other 20 rare ways a player can get aboard.
It's a breathtaking experience, the type that reminds you why you're a baseball fan. It makes lifelong memories for the fans in attendance, and creates new heroes for young fans learning the game. For a team with aspirations of winning a championship, it gives a boastful confidence that can help fans sleep at night. For teams on a rebuilding path, watching someone they dream will one day lead their team to championships getting close to a no-hitter is something that can provide hope to last through those tough days of seemingly endless middling.
That's been the case for the Toronto Blue Jays, and it's been spectacular to watch. On four occasions this year, Blue Jays pitchers managed to take no-hit bids very late into games, and we're only through the first 27 games of the season. Shaun Marcum wasted no time on Opening Day, taking a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers into the seventh inning. Ricky Romero dominated the Chicago White Sox in the second home game the Jays played, with monstrous strike-out totals and a no-hit bid that lasted until his old teammate Alex Rios broke it up in the eighth inning. Brandon Morrow was next in-line, holding the Kansas City Royals hitless into the sixth inning. And last night, Brett Cecil joined in the fun in the big way, taking a beyond-rare perfect game into the seventh inning before giving up a pair of walks and then a hit to the Cleveland Indians' Jhonny Peralta.
For a team that traded away its Hall of Fame-bound ace, Roy Halladay, this off-season, the young rotation has helped ease the suffering of the fans by showing massive potential, and making games between teams with no realistic chance of seeing post-season baseball into must-see events.
To this point in the season, they may not have been able to complete what they dreamed about while throwing the ball around in their backyards as kids. But with their incredible regularity this year, Toronto Blue Jays pitchers are allowing fans to place their collective dreams on the backs of their breathtaking no-hit bids.