There is always a chance something magical can happen whenever a fan attends a sporting event.
On the weekend of April 20-22, I made the trip to Mountain House, California, to visit my friend John Ball. Our mutual friend Shawn Peake also made the 90-minute flight to Oakland International Airport from SeaTac International Airport for the mini-reunion amongst friends.
Before our arrival, Ball purchased three tickets to the April 21 Oakland Athletics/Boston Red Sox Major League baseball game. I told Ball before we departed his townhouse for the BART Station in Dublin, California (train which transported us to the game) that attending a MLB game at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum was a “bucket list” event for me. The venue, which was constructed in 1966, is one of the oldest baseball stadiums in the MLB. In addition, it is the site of numerous historic Oakland Raiders football games over the past six decades.
Our seats, which were 27 rows up on the third base line, gave our trio an absolutely fantastic view of the field. After six innings of play, I glanced up at the scoreboard and noticed the Boston Red Sox had yet to register a hit. I communicated my knowledge of this to Ball and Peake immediately. They hadn’t noticed either that we were nine outs away from witnessing a no-hitter first hand. Before the top of the ninth inning commenced and with the Athletics leading the Red Sox 3-0, close to half the crowd rose to their feet cheering on Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea in his quest to make history.
Manaea rose to the occasion, registering three consecutive outs preserving the no-hitter and shutout victory in front of the hometown crowd in Oakland. On the walk across the skybridge from the Coliseum back to the BART station following the game, I told Ball and Peake that we had just witnessed MLB history. There was only one no-hitter during the 2017 season and just one no-hitter during the 2016 season.
Watching a no-hitter live is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not many people can say they’ve seen one in person. To me, it was the equivalent of hitting the sports lottery. I will never forget April 21, 2018. What a fantastic day!