10/06/10 11:25 PM ET
TBS crew thrilled to call Halladay's no-no
By Ed Eagle / MLB.com
Brian Anderson and Joe Simpson will have proof that they were there. Video evidence, if you will.
As the TBS broadcast team, Anderson and Simpson had figurative front-row seats to history, one that they felt privileged to share with countless television viewers.
"I was just thrilled to be there," Simpson said. "It meant a lot to me. What [Halladay] did tonight in his first postseason game is storybook."
"That was the easiest game I ever called," Anderson joked. "I didn't even say anything.
"That was a masterpiece. I have never seen anything like that."
It didn't take long for the crew to sense that they might be witnessing something special. After Halladay retired the first nine Reds in order, Anderson pointed to his scorecard and told Simpson, "I like what I'm seeing."
"I would have been more surprised if he didn't throw a no-hitter than if he did," Anderson said. "The odds of throwing a no-hitter in the big leagues are astronomical. But he was that impressive. They had no chance. I think the Reds' hitters would tell you the same thing."
Two innings later, the analyst was beginning to feel the same way.
"I never envisioned a no-hitter until the fifth or sixth inning, when nobody even hit the ball hard."
It was about that time that Anderson broke one of the unwritten baseball broadcasting rules. He had the nerve to tell the viewers at home that Halladay had a no-hitter going. Not in some cleverly-coded, thinly-veiled way. He flat out said "no-hitter."
How dare he tempt the baseball gods?
"I don't do jinxes," said Anderson, whose primary concern was making sure that people who were tuning in wouldn't skip past the game, unaware that they might soon see something legendary unfold. "You have to mention a no-hitter. There are a lot of baseball purists who don't like it, they don't want to hear it. I mentioned it and [Halladay] got it. So there's your answer right there -- there's no jinx!"
As Halladay continued to mow down the formidable Reds lineup, out by out, Anderson and Simpson were determined to step back a bit and let the reactions of the fans at Citizens Bank Park tell the story, to make the viewers at home feel like they were at the ballpark.
And as the outs clicked by, the crowd became more and more electric, not to mention deafeningly loud.
"There were almost like vibrations going through you," Simpson said. "You had your own emotions that you had to keep in check, too. I have never, ever heard a stadium so loud."
By the ninth inning, the excitement doubled as nervous anxiety, both in the crowd and in the booth. There was also the understanding that the Reds were just a few hits away from a potential game-changing rally.
"The Reds are the most prolific offense in the National League and they're a couple of swats away from getting back in it," Anderson said. "A 4-0 lead at Citizens Bank is nothing."
Of course, there would be no rally.
Ramon Hernandez led off the top of the ninth with a popup to second base.
Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo popped out in foul territory to third baseman Wilson Valdez.
Then, Brandon Phillips got behind in the count before hitting a swinging bunt in front of the plate, fielded by catcher Carlos Ruiz, prompting the Anderson call that generations of fans will someday know by heart.
"Halladay is one strike away. The 0-2 ... a bouncer ... Ruiz ... in time! Roy Halladay has thrown a no-hitter!"
The second postseason no-hitter in big league history was in the books.
"It's the greatest moment of my career," said Anderson. "I was there, man. I've got a scorebook to prove it."
Ed Eagle is a reporter and producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.