Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cancer strikes out! (And fails to get a base hit!)

First off, wow. That was something, and in all fairness to Jon Lester, that was something I did not expect to see. Pitcher struggling with strike zone and walks hits strike one 20 out of 29 times, giving up 2 walks, pitching his first ever complete game. (Albeit with a dangerous 130 pitches. Tito, what were you thinking?)

And, um, oh yeah. No hits. None. Nine strikeouts, a lot of weak groundballs and popups, one of which nearly dived to the ground:

That was it. That was dominance. And no matter how bitter you want to be about it (see the comments turn tragicomical on Peter Abraham's blog around 9:45 p.m. here; thanks to the 45 King), no one else has no-hit the Royals since Nolan Ryan got his first, and no one has no-hit a major league team since that scrawny kid with the big curve and the Penthouse Pet girlfriend pulled it. Way, way back in September.

But, yeah, it was against the Royals. So what? Do it yourself. Fuck you, stupid bitter Yankee fans. If Wang no-hit the Padres in interleague play, I'd hardly mention that they were the Padres. The luck necessary alone with all the poorly hit balls that can end up in unplayable sections of the field (I remember a swinging bunt breaking up John Maine's no-no bid the next-to-last day of the season last year) or the killer bloop (akin to what Ellsbury somehow snatched) make any no-hitter against any team an accomplishment.

Having pitched a World Series clinching game and a no-hitter, I'd like to again suggest that this might be an opportunity for us to move on from the The Boy Who Lived plotline that the media have tacked onto him, and which Jon Lester himself desires. The first sentence of the Herald article on last night says all:

Ever since receiving word that he had defeated lymphoma a year-and-a-half ago, Jon Lester has been trying to do everything within his power to shed the unsought labeling of being the pitcher who survived cancer.

It says all especially because the fucking sentence does plenty to keep the unsought label on!

The AP's first two graphs:

BOSTON, May 19 -- Jon Lester has survived cancer and pitched a World Series clincher for the Boston Red Sox.

Now he can add a no-hitter to his already amazing list of accomplishments.

Accomplishments? That's survival you're fucking talking about, not an "accomplishment." Cancer didn't give him a trophy. He didn't get a Most Valuable Player Who Had Cancer trophy last year. (Mike Lowell would have deserved it more anyway.) To the Globe's credit, they did not mention cancer until paragraph 3, and again, in the "he wants to be remembered for more" context.

So, yeah, respect his wishes already and stop talking about his near-death experience so cavalierly and unendingly, Author. I mean, Arthur. Lester's pitched well enough to be more than a human interest story, okay? Find a boy in a well.

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