Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Or, rather, Homer and Virgil.

With Mr. Bailey's second career no-hitter last night, he has now evened things up for the linchpins of the Classical Canon (as it is sometimes still called--in distant, disparate institutions chartered to make brightness fall from the air, so to enable ignorant armies the necessary latitude to clash by night).

It is possible that Homer Bailey is beginning to at last round himself into form as a truly solid pitcher. (Dusty Baker might make more of an effort to give him that extra day of rest--over the past few years, Bailey has shown much more zip on the mound when he has five days between starts, as was the case last night.)

He has a ways to go, however, before reaching the level of Virgil Trucks, who passed away (at the ripe old age of 95) in March of this year and thus had no opportunity to see his "literary doppelganger" join him in the pantheon of multiple no-hit pitchers.

Virgil still has one thing on Homer in this instance (thus probably ensuring that he'll never suffer the fate of his namesake and spend thousands of years being considered by many as a pale reflection of someone's greater achievement). His two no-hitters occurred in the same season (1952), in what was otherwise a dismal year for him (5-19 for a terrible Tigers squad who averaged less than three runs a game for him in his starts that year).

Homer can certainly feel for Virgil in terms of that: thus far in '13, Bailey has gotten no runs at all from his Cincinnati teammates in four of his starts; they'd scored two runs or less in half of his appearances prior to his no-no.

So: symmetry, of a sort, for two scrappers with talent as mercurial as any winged messenger who'd stop mid-flight to sing their praises. Baseball's hold on those who love it would be a good bit thinner without these resonantly unexpected juxtapositions.

Call it an incongruous congruence. Oh, go ahead...