By now you know that Anibal Sanchez tossed a no-hitter last night, ending an over 2 year span since Major League Baseball’s last no-hitter, the longest such drought in history. I had never heard of Sanchez before yesterday, but he seems to represent a major stepping stone in baseball.
Just for starters, he represents the third Florida Marlins makeover in their less than two decades of existence. I was shocked to find out that he came over in the Josh Beckett trade. Florida clearly has an eye for talent unlike any other ballclub.
But more importantly, Sanchez represents a new leaf for baseball. I do not think it is a coincidence that the longest no-hitter drought in history coincided with baseball’s drug policy. We know that pitchers were juicing prior to the start of drug testing; and a feat that takes such stamina and domination as a no-hit shutout would be greatly aided by performance enhancers. Assuming that pitchers stopped juicing at the beginning of the 2005 season, it makes sense that we had an entire season without a no-no. I won’t go too far into the details, that’s a post for Subversive Theory.
What Sanchez represented last night was a new wave. Every rookie that enters the big leagues with a flash of brilliance represents a generation of players without question marks next to their statistics. The minor leagues have been tested for steroids for quite some time, so we can be much more comfortable that this wave of players is used to performing drug free. And thus we rejoice in Sanchez, Ryan Howard, Justin Verlander, and others who prove to us that our sport will move forward.