of Pennsylvania. He’d always say, “You don’t go to Orioles games until the end of May!”
So, Barry called, extended the invitation and I declined. I figured he’d probably just skip it and stay home.
Four hours later, my phone rang. My son, on the other end, was calling to tell me that he saw a no-hitter that night with a couple of his buddies.
Let me say this, and I know my son Barry pretty well from the 22 years of experience I have with him. I don’t think there have been three times in my life where HE has invited ME to an Orioles game. Just doesn’t happen. NEVER!
And the one night he actually called and said, “Do you wanna go?” I had another plan.
Hideo Nomo threw the only no-hitter in Camden Yards history that night. The Orioles were so appalled that there was an ad in The Sun a week later for Red Sox fans to buy unused tickets and a plaque to commemorate the achievement.
My son wanted one. I told him he was more out of his mind than whatever dingbat in The Warehouse dreamed that one up.
But he’s got something I don’t have, a legitimate no-no. And a ticket stub from it…
I’ve got two close approaches but neither one counts. I’ve also had three other games — David Cone’s perfect game (I was scheduled to go, but changed my mind two days before), Mike Mussina’s 9th-inning close call (I had a date to go to the game but we literally changed our minds on the patio of Hooters and went to a restaurant instead!) and the R.F.K. Nats’ Ramon Ortiz’ 9th-inning collapse two weeks ago on Labor Day (we literally contemplated going at 10 a.m. that morning and just decided to watch Roger Clemens pitch on TV from Philly instead of dealing with holiday I-95 traffic!)
On April 15, 1987 I was listening on the radio to the Orioles-Brewers game from 33rd Street in my house on Kane Street near Patterson High School. It was the sixth inning and and a Puerto Rican kid named Juan Nieves who had just turned 22 was throwing a no-hitter against the Orioles. I listened for one more inning and jumped in my car and headed over there. It was a cold night, the stadium parking lot was mostly empty, I pulled right up to the front and ran through the press entrance with my pass from The Evening Sun.
I watched Robin Yount lay out for the final out on Eddie Murray’s drive into the right-centerfield gap. I was in the locker room that night when they were dousing this kid with beer and champagne. There were, generously, about 12 other reporters in the room witnessing what would be the greatest moment in the career of Juan Nieves, who went 32-25 in three seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers. He pitched almost 500 innings in the big leagues, but nothing like those nine he put together at the old girl on 33rd Street.
It was the first time I had ever seen anything like that celebration from the middle of it. It was like something I had seen on TV in October with Brent Musberger or Bob Costas in the middle of the pileup and champagne shower.
My boss Jack Gibbons was standing at the door to the locker room area and I offered to help in any way I could. He was usually pretty parental and upset with me when I buzzed anywhere near the Orioles because of my rabid