So Stupid! MLB Screws Madison Bumgarner Out of History!
Congratulations to Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner for throwing a no-hitter on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves! Oops...actually, it wasn't really a no-hitter, even though it actually was.
File this under the 'Unintended Consequences' tab, but Major League Baseball just screwed a player out of a piece of 'official' history due to it's own evolution, or maybe temporary tweak to what is an actual full-length game.
This is a quirk in Major League Baseball's rules, or at least the interpretation, of what constitutes an official no-hitter, coupled with a new trend to shorten the length of MLB games when teams are playing a doubleheader. Because Bumgarner's no-no came in the second game of a double-header, which in today's MLB means it was scheduled as a 7-inning game, not a 9-inning game. So, because it was fewer than 9-innings, MLB says he gets credit for the win and the complete game, but not the no-hitter.
Look I'm not arguing that in a rain-shorted 5-inning game, a pitcher should get credit for an 'official' no-hitter. But, in this case, I think the fact that it was scheduled as a 7-inning game actually matters.
Kudos to ESPN for pointing out some of the inconsistencies in interpretation of what a no-hitter is, or isn't. Jayson Stark of 'The Mothership' noted on social media that had Bumgarner allowed one-hit in the 7-innings, MLB would officially count it as a one-hitter.
So, why not a no-hitter then?
ESPN's, David Schoenfield writes that according to the league, in order to be credited with a no-no, you must throw at least 9 no-hit innings. But, that wasn't always the case:
Prior to that change in the official records, no-hit games of fewer than nine innings were considered no-hitters. (I can't say this for sure, but that ruling from the records committee might have been a reaction to Andy Hawkins' game for the Yankees in 1990, when he allowed no hits in eight innings, yet lost 4-0 on four unearned runs. The record keepers might have considered it an affront to history that Hawkins deserved credit for a no-hitter in a game in which he pitched eight innings and allowed four runs.)
While fans might be aware of Bumgarner's performance on Sunday, its significance in the future will fade because MLB won't commemorate it as such. It's just a good game, not a historic one.
Should we assume that if MLB for some reason opted to shorten EVERY game to 8 innings in the future no-one would EVER throw a no-hitter again? No one is proposing that currently, but I pose the question because in this particular case, MLB is the one who decided 7-innings is an appropriate length for an MLB game. But, too short for a historic one.
The Diamondbacks, though, took matters into their own hands saying on social media: ''IT COUNTS IN OUR BOOK'':
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