R.A. Dickey’s 1-hitter* last night brought back a fond memory from my time working with the D-Rays.
During one of Tim Wakefield’s most-dominating starts at the Trop, he took a no-hit bid late into the game. Jason Tyner chopped a ball towards third that the third-baseman mishandled trying to make a bare-handed throw to first (because Tyner was very fast). Our home official scorer ruled it an error. When the scoring decision went up on the board, Greg Vaugn came out of the dugout to shoot daggers into the press box. It. Was. Weird. Thankfully, Randy Winn broke up the no-no with a double down the line in the next at bat. (How cool is the internet? I just found the box score from the game.)
I remember the game very clearly partly because of the no-hitter. But also because our official scorer that night was a guy named Allen Lewis. Allen is in the Hall of Fame and literally wrote the official scoring rules. He had seen everything in baseball. Everything. During the 5th or 6th inning he whispered to me (I sat next to the official scorer in the press box) that he really hoped it wouldn’t be his 10th no-hitter. 10! In person!
Anyway, Allen was under a lot of pressure that night. The later the game got, the more worried he was about every decision. He was older at the time and needed to rely on the video replay monitor for some routine plays. He knew the Boston writers were watching him and made a concious decision to stop talking to me about anything after the 5th because he didn’t want anyone to think I effected the scoring (something I was grateful for).
He moved slowly and deliberately on every call. EXCEPT, the infield single/error on Tyner. He didn’t wait for a replay or delay. He called it an error live. It was incredible. He knew he had to be sure, so he was. Then he looked so relieved when Randy Winn ripped that double. Thank goodness for Randy Winn.
I don’t have any idea who was scoring last night’s game. But, I think we lose something in the era of 24-hour replay. If a Hall of Famer, the AUTHOR of the book on official scoring, was that nervous after seeing/scoring 9 other no-hitters, then I think it safe to assume that last night’s scorer was under some pressure as well. So give him a break.