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2015 Mariner Advent Calendar of Joy - Day Eight

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In which the author's dreams are fully realized.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

LL Advent Calendar

Day eight - Hisashi no-hits the Orioles

  • The Box Score
  • The LL Recap
    Today, just as the last time, in the middle of the seventh inning I saw my father. That man who had invested so much of his time and money in my own baseball career. We both sat and watched Hisashi Iwakuma battle through the final at-bats. It was an alien experience of great familiarity. It was quiet, as I'm sure it was for you. The edge of the seat was the most comforting place in the building. Parra pops out to Jackson, before it's even caught I'm celebrating. He is, too. Today is justification for all those sleepless nights. All that emotional that I have no control over the source of, it was rewarded here today. One man gave us all something larger than himself. We do not feel the disappointment of this season, the hard work that has to happen between now and October to make my belief of the postseason a reality. That is the beauty of sport, of this game of baseball. It is transcendent. Jesus does not feel it it either.
  • The Player Quote
    "To be honest, when he first hit that ball, I thought that ball was going to drop for a base hit," Iwakuma said. "I was like, ‘Uh oh.’ "Right when I saw Jackson showed his glove up in the air, I was like, ‘Yes!’"

I won't bother to recap my experience attending this game. I wrote about that here. I will however selfishly write down the summation of that day, as I cherish the simplicity of its beauty:

I got to attend a no-hitter with my son.

While I was sad when Hisashi Iwakuma agreed to a 3 year contract with the Dodgers I was glad he got this moment as a Mariner. For so long, from Eric Wedge letting him languish the first 2 months of 2012, to being constantly overshadowed by Felix, Iwakuma's brilliance has been undersold. I think his relative quietness, his shy smile, and the non-overpowering style with which he throws makes it easy to simply take him for granted.

Iwakuma's departure for LA was just the latest time that I've mentally said goodbye to the Bear. In 2014 when he struggled so mightily in September I thought we'd seen the last of the pitcher I'd enjoyed so much for 2+ years. On July 6th of this year I attended Iwakuma's return from the DL in a game against Detroit. The Tigers blasted 4 home runs in 5 innings, and again I prepared myself for the end.

Everytime I've seen the end in front of him Iwakuma has shown that the goofy hair and quiet air belies an inner strength and competitive fire as intense as even the scrappiest grit lord. He's back again, the most recent time under the most unlikely circumstances. He is 34, the bundle of nerves, bone and tissue in his right arm has for the second time cost him a substantial amount of guaranteed money. He has, in the span of 3 1/2 years become pretty close to beloved in Seattle. He is our Bear, our lovable zag to Felix's zig. He threw a no-hitter for my son and I, and gave us the memory of a lifetime. He is back, and right at this exact moment I can see him helping lead this team to the playoffs in 2016 clearly in my mind's eye.

Muni, as always, says it best:

In the most miserable year Hisashi Iwakuma reminded us how baseball can exist beyond any context, and even a season like 2015 can provide moments that transcend wins and losses. I know of no other sport where one day can erase the the pain of six months. For me it did, and 2015 will always be the year I screamed like a kid on a workday afternoon as a baseball gently nestled into Austin Jackson's glove. A pretty good reason to choose to keep watching, more than I ever dreamed for, and something I'll be thankful for forever.