Written by Tim Hoffman Wednesday, 28 July 2010 18:59
It's been a wild season of pitching this year in Major League Baseball, with five no hitters and two perfect games so far this year, but yesterday's events may just be the icing on the cake. Only 24 hours after Matt Garza tossed the first no-no in Tampa Bay Rays history, teen singing sensation Justin Bieber was on hand to throw out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds game.
But Bieber's pitch looked so unhittable, manager Dusty Baker decided to just leave him in there for the rest of the game.
"He had a no-hitter going after that first pitch, you can't take a pitcher out when he's got something going like that," said Baker after the game. "That first pitch was so unlike anything I've ever seen before. It couldn't even reach the plate, it sort of bounced off the ground and then way over the catcher's head. I knew no one could come close to hitting something so horrible, so I told the kid he was staying in there to finish this thing."
Pitching in street clothes, Bieber baffled the Milwaukee Brewers for 8 dazzling innings, who were likely so confused by the turn of events they couldn't concentrate on hitting the ball.
"Wow, my daughter isn't going to believe I was struck out by Justin 3 times in one game," said All-Star Prince Fielder. "I couldn't hit a home run off that kid, despite the fact the couple balls that he managed to get to the plate were right in my zone. My daughter wouldn't have spoken to me for a year!"
Bieber's agent was happy with the performance of his client, but furious at Baker's mismanagement.
"Obviously he should have been pulled after that first pitch," said the agent, Saul Washington. "Justin is supposed to be on a pitch count! We talked to Dusty beforehand and he said that count would be one, maybe two pitches. This kid has a bright future ahead of symbolic athletic honors before games. I want him to be able to sing a national anthem, toss a coin, or wave a flag at a NASCAR event. Now his whole career could be in jeopardy."
Bieber was backed up by some stellar defense behind him to pick up the no hitter, but it really served to highlight that indeed anyone can pitch a perfect game this year.