Tim Lincecum's no-hitter was great, and you're annoying

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Not you. The other guy.

You are still happy. Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter. The USMNT won because they lost but not by that much. Mostly, though, you're happy about the no-hitter. Eight years ago, the Giants used a first-round pick on an undersized pitcher, and now he has two no-hitters, two championships, and two Cy Youngs. For perspective, Juan Marichal, Hall of Famer and greatest pitcher in San Francisco Giants history, was fortunate enough to get just one of those.

So you're happy. Watch a video of it again? Sure.

Except, it's a big Internet. There are people who aren't giddy about this. There are people who are downright curmudgeonly about the no-hitter. Our job is to figure out how to shame and/or humiliate these people with witty barbs and quick responses. Here are the two most predictable grumblings I've read, and here are some of the possible ways you can respond:

1. Whatever, man, it's just the Padres

I absolutely hate this argument. You may remember this from 2009, when Jonathan Sanchez no-hit the Padres. Or from 2013, when Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres. And you'll see it in 2014, when Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres. See, the Padres are traditionally not a good offensive team, and this season, they're especially wretched. They're barely hitting over the Mendoza Line as a team, and they might set a record for the lowest team OBP if they don't get their hit together.

They were still overwhelmingly likely to get a hit.

Hits happen because of outstanding at-bats. Hits happen because of lousy at-bats. Hits happen on check swings. Hits happen when they hit a bat three times, including twice after it breaks.

Hits happen.

Screen_shot_2014-06-26_at_11.29.40_am_medium


Catchy, I know. But that's why no-hitters are so danged rare -- Lincecum's was the 285th in the history of baseball. There have been approximately about 206,000 games in baseball history. Every 1,000 games, give or take, there's a combination of talent and luck that results in a no-hitter. Assuming the Padres are really a .200-hitting team, meaning they're likely to get a hit 20 percent of the time in every at-bat, they would have a 1.3421773e-19-percent chance of not getting a hit against an average pitcher. That's not even a number. It's just what my calculator spit out after .227 broke its robot brain.

There might not be a likelier team to get no-hit than the 2014 Padres.

It's still incredibly unlikely that 2014 Padres were no-hit.

Both can be true. That doesn't mean we don't celebrate the second one.

2. Tim Lincecum's awful now, big whoop

Tim Lincecum ...

/leans in and whispers

... hasn't been good for a couple years, now. This is not up for debate. The Giants have paid, and are paying him, many millions to be one of the worst starting pitchers with an extended spot in a major-league rotation. Bringing this up now, though, is like someone bringing up your SAT scores at your wedding. You sure screwed up back there, but ... we're here to celebrate? Why are you being weird?

Celebrating a no-hitter isn't about celebrating a pitcher's total worth, it's not about celebrating his place as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. It's about celebrating an event. It's about celebrating something that's two parts talent and one part good fortune. Because you know what else is about celebrating two parts talent and one part good fortune? Baseball.

Baseball, dammit.

No-hitters are baseball. It's the unlikely mixing with the predictable, the observable mixing with the intangible. Predicting what will happen in October baseball is pointless because there are a trillion variables that can screw everything up. At the end, though, there's a talented team that had a plurality of the variables break their way. That team will be celebrated.

It's nice to see Lincecum get hitters out with his current arsenal of pitches. It doesn't mean anything about four days from now, other than we're a little more hopeful that there's another stage coming with Lincecum's evolution into a finesse pitcher.

That stage will probably never arrive. But even if you ignore the long term completely, you can celebrate the event. Pitchers try to prevent hits. For two hours and 37 minutes on Wednesday, Tim Lincecum prevented hits better than almost any other pitcher in baseball history. Roger Clemens never had a no-hitter. Greg Maddux never had one. Lefty Grove, Steve Carlton, Don Drysdale, and Grover Cleveland Alexander never had one.

Lincecum has two because of a combination of fortune and talent. It doesn't matter which major-league team it happened against, and it doesn't matter what his ERA has been over the last two-plus years. It happened. Get a glass of something, and let's toast.

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