Good morning, McCoven!
It’s the last day of the All Star break, and baseball will be back tomorrow! While you’re waiting, I highly recommend you read Andrew Baggarly’s profile of Jonathan Sánchez in The Athletic yesterday. Ostensibly, this was just about his no-hitter, which took place 10 years ago yesterday. However, it ended up being a riveting read about his rise and fall from the majors, including the luck that allowed him to even be on the mound to pitch the night of the no-hitter and the factors that led his MLB career to its untimely conclusion.
But Sánchez isn’t done playing ball, and Baggarly spends just as much time and detail painting a picture of Sánchez’ life as a player for the Saraperos de Saltillo in Mexico as he does telling the story of his time as a Giant. Sanchez describes some of the differences himself:
“It’s hard to pitch here,” Sánchez said. “If they hit it bad, and it’s a fly ball, you’re hoping it stays in the park. So you’ve got to make good pitches. Here they throw the bat like, ‘Fuck, I missed that ball.’ And it’s over the fence. That’s why you gotta keep the ball down, you gotta get ground balls. You gotta fight the whole game. And they’re free swingers. That makes it even harder. The first batter swings at the first pitch. If you throw fastball and it’s down the middle, it’s over the lights.”
The no-hitter itself is the creamy center of the piece. Even if you watched the game (or have watched it several times), there’s still a lot to pick up on (or remember). Such as the fact that Sánchez wasn’t even supposed to be starting that game, and Eli Whiteside wasn’t supposed to be catching. And Sánchez himself didn’t realize what he’d just accomplished even after the game. And that it was his father’s first time seeing him start a game in the majors. It was truly a great story told very well.
I know a lot of people don’t like to pay for content, but this is more than worth the cost of a subscription, in my opinion. And as a (mediocre at best) writer, I like to give props where they are due, and Baggarly did an excellent job in telling not only the story of the no-hitter, but Sánchez’ bigger story.