If Baseball’s Unwritten Rules had power rankings, what the Tampa Bay Rays did on Tuesday night with a Reid Detmers no-hitter on the line in Anaheim would far outclass stealing a base in a 7-1 game — or, in other words, “trying.”
Too often in recent years, some MLB team has gotten scorned for playing hard to the whistle, a trend that includes the often-pooh-pooh’d move of bunting to try to break up a no-hitter.
Frustrating? Sure. Hard to cheer for. But there’s pride on the line, and when push comes to shove, you can see why a speedster might want to use his best tool in order to try to gut out a victory.
Unfortunately for society, the Rays did the opposite on Tuesday night when confronted with a Detmers no-hit bid. Already down 8-0 (in a game started by Corey Kluber) with a minuscule chance of victory, Tampa decided to surrender an inning early and put a position player in to pitch, attempting some sort of team-wide flop.
You know how inserting a pinch-hitter at an opportune moment might throw off a pitcher’s focus, causing them to lose their game plan in a blink?
The Rays chose to just gum up the works entirely, turning the bottom of the eighth inning into an abject circus in hopes that Detmers would be stuck on the bench for an hour as they made a mockery of the sport. For a team built on ruthless efficiency to abandon that core principle and embarrass an opponent chasing history, the decision had to have been made with malice in mind.
Rays tried to ruin Reid Detmers’ no-hitter. It didn’t work.
The Rays not only gave up, but they gave up extra hard in an attempt to shake a rookie’s confidence and waste his time on what might’ve been the best night of his life.
And you know what was great? Detmers and the Angels looked Kevin Cash in the eyes and said, “We do not care.”
They pounded the lobbing, laughing Phillips into submission, of course. Ha ha, as Mike Trout homered! Tee hee hee, as Anthony Rendon flipped to the other side of the plate and smashed a dong.
It was too easy. It took up about as much time as Cash intended. And then Detmers just got right back to work, plowing through Vidal Brujan, Kevin Kiermaier and Yandy Diaz 1-2-3.
It was initially shocking that the prideful Kiermaier didn’t attempt to drag a bunt and ruin the party himself, but once you remembered that the Rays had already surrendered in the name of creating slop, it wasn’t so surprising after all.
Tampa Bay knew their death was imminent, so they called in a clown show in an attempt to muddy the waters and minimize the power of Detmers’ accomplishment — or maybe bust it up entirely.
Luckily, it was the Angels who laughed all the way into the record books instead. Detmers may not be among the Stable of Guys Who Throw 98, but at least he didn’t embarrass himself with All-Star Celebrity Softball Game-level shenanigans with history on the line.