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The No Hitter

I learned something about myself last night. After the game was over my mind kept saying you need to write something, but my emotions would have none of that, they wanted to celebrate.  I guess what it comes down to is this: I'm a fan - first and foremost.

Thankfully there were others available to write about the event without having to peel themselves off the wall.

I have read most every account of last night's game and all were good but I will lead off with the one I liked the best.  You may have a different favorite.

Mike Berardino's.  Here is how it starts.

Dontrelle Willis had no idea.

For nine innings he sat there in the Marlins' dugout, rooting on Anibal Sanchez, hanging on every pitch. But until the final out was registered, Willis was just as clueless as the millions of South Floridians who decided to skip just another Wednesday night Marlins game.

"The way our scoreboard is, they only show the runs and the miles per hour," Willis said late Wednesday. "You can't see [the hit totals] because the Jumbotron's way up there."

---

One out to go. And still Willis had no clue what Sanchez was about to accomplish.

"I swear to God on my parents," the Marlins' ace said. "I had no idea. I'm glad I didn't because I would have been a mess if I did. I would have needed another IV."

---

And at precisely 9:18 p.m., the few thousand fans who braved the wet conditions exulted at the completion of baseball's first no-hitter in 841 days.

Sanchez threw both his arms overhead. Everyone in a Marlins uniform raced to meet him at the mound.

Only then did it hit Willis.

"When we ran out, I was like, `What the heck's going on?'" Willis said. "I was running out and I see zeroes on the board. So I'm just like, `Oh my goodness.'"

Then there is Joe Capozzi's wonderful addition.

He knew what was happening.

He was trying not to think about it. But with two outs in the ninth inning, Anibal Sanchez was so nervous that he had to walk behind the mound to collect himself.

Taking a deep breath, he happened to look up in the direction of the Dolphin Stadium scoreboard. That's when he saw a reminder in bright lights -- zeroes all across for the Diamondbacks.

"I didn't want to see the screen," he said, "but I saw it. And I said, 'All right it's (almost) a no-hitter.' This is it."'

Two pitches later, Sanchez threw his arms in the air and was carried off the field after throwing a no-hitter Wednesday night in his 13th career start, a 2-0 win against the Diamondbacks.

"This is the best moment of my life," he cried as the small but boisterous crowd of 12,561 stood and screamed, saluting the most sensational moment in a season of overachieving Marlins' rookies.

Greg Stoda chimed in with this:

The magic continues.

The Marlins are playing meaningful September games in Dolphin Stadium before the team with its name on the joint does.

How wacky - beautifully, wondrously, astonishingly wacky - is that?

And the whole thing grew even more outrageous Wednesday night when Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter in the Marlins' 2-0 victory against Arizona.

"The best moment of my life," Sanchez called it. "I don't know what I say for real."

Perfect. Because who can tell what's for real with the Marlins right about now?

Anibal Sanchez?

That would be the Anibal Sanchez who wasn't even on Florida's roster for opening day, who worked at Carolina in the minors, who subsequently made a scintillating major-league debut at Yankee Stadium in June and then out-dueled one Roger Clemens in another start and is 7-2 in the bigs with a 2.89 earned run average.

Clark Spencer had this to say:

The last thing the rain-saturated diamond at Dolphin Stadium needed on Wednesday was another watering. But a steady drizzle began to fall the instant rookie pitcher Anibal Sanchez of the Marlins ended the longest drought between no-hitters in major-league history.

The drops were tears of ecstasy, and they gushed from Sanchez the instant the 22-year-old native of Venezuela became the fourth pitcher in Marlins history to throw a no-hitter and the first one in the majors to accomplish the feat since Randy Johnson tossed a perfect game for the Diamondbacks on May 18, 2004.

There are many others worthy of being read in their entirety but I don't want to push Anibal's picture off the front page today.

One day I will possibly get control of my emotions and be able to write prose on the day of big events.  Oh, who am I kidding, I will always be a fan - first and foremost.