Six years ago the Arizona Diamondbacks were coming off a dismal home stand where they went 2-8 with a five-game losing streak. After a much needed off-day the team found themselves in Atlanta Georgia to face a Braves team who many had predicted would be a play-off team by the end of the season.
The Diamondbacks season had fallen apart with injuries to key personnel and the team looked to be spiraling out of control. That assessment was not that far off, as the team would go on to lose a franchise-worst 111 games before the season ended.
There were not many who gave the Diamondbacks much chance in that series against the Braves but that all changed in the first game of the three-game series when Randy Johnson took the mound and pitched to perfection.
In that cool Georgia air Johnson became the first Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher to record a no-hitter. This was not your average run-of-the-mill no-hitter; this was a perfect game. Twenty-seven Braves batters would face Johnson and he retired each of the culminating with a strikeout of Eddie Perez with a 98 MPH fastball.
Going into that game no one could have anticipated history would be made. The Diamondbacks were struggling trying to find any consistency either on the mound or at the plate. Regardless of how poorly the team did that season, one game on May 18, 2004 defined their season.
It’s somewhat ironic that the 2010 Diamondbacks have the exact same record as their 2004 counterparts and they are likewise coming off a dismal home stand with an extended losing streak.
Diamondbacks fans everywhere are keeping their fingers crossed that the 2010 team will find a way to turn things around and not challenge the 111-loss season. No one is anticipating that Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy will take the mound and throw a perfect game but then I doubt many would have guessed Oakland Athletics starter Dallas Braden would throw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays last week either.
The fact remains that anything is possible in the game of baseball and you never quite know when history will reach out and anoint a player with an accomplishment of a lifetime.
On a completely unrelated note, I received an email from blog reader Travis Kurtz. It contained a link to a short film directed by Kurtz and Perry Jenkins. The film is titled Wiffleball ‘79. For anyone who used to play wiffleball while dreaming of being in the big leagues, this film will bring back memories.