Sep 18, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zach Miner (45) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Miner Flirts With No-Hitter for 15 Minutes

Phillies spot starter Zach Miner had the Marlins in the palm of his hand Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The 31-year-old right handed journeyman reliever was eight innings away from making Phillies history. Nobody would have thought, on a night when Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee were on the roster, that it would be Miner going for the sort of performance that has for the most part eluded the Phillies’ this season.

“I barely even noticed,” Miner said after the game, clearly in shock from his historic feat.  “It’s just like, one of those things that happens in baseball that nobody notices; like when players talk to each other or a piece of trash blows onto the field.”

A crisp, early autumnal chill was in the air – a sensation that in recent years had been synonymous with playoff baseball. This year, that sensation will not be experienced by the team, but Miner had set about trying to give them one night to celebrate with the 12th no-hitter in Phillies history.  By the time he left the field after silencing the Marlins for one inning in a row, the tension in the dugout was palpable.

A team will leave their pitcher alone, allowing his concentration to remain full steam ahead.  But the Phillies abandoned that antiquated tradition, approaching Miner and interacting with him as if he had not transcended to baseball heaven and was currently looking down on them with contempt from on high.

“Yeah, we were, uh… what was the question?” Dom Brown said after the game, clearly still in a daze from the night’s festivities.  “Did that happen?  Yeah, I mean, that happens… sometimes.  Sorry, are you new?”

The only new thing at the ballpark tonight was Miner’s effect on the crowd.  The stands were nearly 1/16th full as he lit up the night, making it feel as though The Bank was at capacity, and then some.  The thunderous dozens would not be denied as Miner threw pitch after pitch, each one more unhittable as they slapped Carlos Ruiz’s mitt.  Last night, Zach Miner was Majorly Talented.

And he proved it by being a one-man World Series.

Reality set in then, a cruel twist on what had been an immaculate evening. The crowd, still behind him, stood and erupted into emotional cheers, knowing full well that what he’d done may have just saved the season.

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Video Dan Stephenson, when asked if this solidified Miner as the narrator of the Phillies’ 2013 DVD yearbook. “I mean, who really even cares at this point.  That used to be a big financial thing for the team. Now they give them out with the programs and they still find them most of them under the seats.”

While it may have not ended the way it seemed to begin, Zach Miner now has a story to tell his grandkids.  He’s got a night to think about when the wind turns cold, years down the line.  He’s got a ball to nod and smile at, sitting on the mantel in his den, decades after he’s hung up his cleats.

Because for one night, Zach Miner mined for gold. And he found some.

“I’m trying to get out of here,” Miner said to the press, hurrying out of the clubhouse to meet his family who were most likely delirious with joy.  “You guys got anymore questions? Not you, weird guy. Put your hand down.”

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies Zach Miner