High Jinx: Did a Broadcaster Really Ruin Capuano’s No-Hit Bid?


Chris Capuano threw one of the best games of his career Sunday, allowing only two hits in eight shutout innings while striking out ten batters in the Dodgers’ 5-0 win over Miami. He also had a no-hitter going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Jose Reyes singled up the middle with one out to give the Marlins their first base hit.

With the no-no gone, fans were miffed at Eric Collins and Steve Lyons, the Dodgers’ TV broadcast team for road games outside California and Arizona. The two discussed the no-hitter openly, an act that many believe jinxed Capuano and ruined his incredible performance. Here are a few tweets to illustrate the frustration:

Sorry fans, but no, Collins and Lyons did not jinx Capuano. The idea that the television broadcasters for the road team somehow affect the starting pitcher is laughable. Few pitchers flirt with no-hitters that deep into a game, but even fewer actually manage to complete them because it’s about probability and difficulty, not superstition. Reyes won the batting title last year for a good reason: He’s actually good. His single off Capuano was the result of years spent working and developing his swing, not a broadcaster opening his big mouth. To say otherwise is an insult to the hard work and dedication of both Reyes and Capuano.

The last tweet is especially noteworthy because Mr. Albert Ramirez seems to believe that Vin Scully would never openly point out a no-hitter. Except he would, and he has, as Larry Stone transcribes:

"Three times in his sensational career has Sandy Koufax walked out to the mound to pitch a fateful ninth where he turned in a no-hitter. But tonight, September the 9th, nineteen hundred and 65, he made the toughest walk of his career, I’m sure, because through eight innings he has pitched a perfect game. He has struck out 11, he has retired 24 consecutive batters, and the first man he will look at is catcher Chris Krug, big right-hand hitter, flied to second, grounded to short."

That’s right, Vin Scully not only mentioned a no-hitter in progress but a perfect game to boot, and this is during the age of the transistor radio, when Scully’s voice could echo though the entire stadium. And yet Koufax completed his famous perfect game.

Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News also discusses how refusing to mention a no-hitter fails to take into account many viewers who might be tuning in for the first time and don’t know the situation.

"No matter what your superstitions are as a broadcaster…this approach that you can jinx a no-no by merely mentioning it only becomes more of a disservice to alerting viewers of an historic event, leaving it to the producer and director of the telecast to hope that folks have paid close attention to the graphics that keep flashing on the screen as the way to tell the story."

Feel free to cling to whatever unspoken rule you have. Nobody can stop you. But don’t expect broadcasters to share the same sentiment. It’s their job to describe the game and inform the viewing audience, not to conform to silly superstitions.