by Alex Poletti
As the world witnessed history during Sunday’s Astros-Blue Jays game, Major League Baseball and its press subsidiary MLB.com watched anxiously as they began to realize that they had run out of puns for headlines regarding Justin Verlander no-hitters.
“By the seventh inning, I called up one of the writers and asked if we had anything left,” MLB Network president Rob McGlarry says. “If I knew he was going to throw three no-hitters, I would’ve at least held a brainstorming session.”
After the 2-0 win was in the books and Verlander officially joined the ranks of Cy Young and Bob Feller with his third no-no, the press scrambled to come up with some sort of pun for the occasion, only to realize that they had exhausted all options in 2011, when the Astros ace last accomplished the feat.
“My mind immediately went to something like ‘JV Comes Through with Varsity-Level No-No,’ but it turns out we ran something like that back in 2007 when he threw the first one,” MLB.com staff writer Matt Kelly says. “After that I went blank. I was really coming up empty. I guess the Blue Jays and I had that in common tonight.”
Verlander was absolutely dominant against the Blue Jays, racking up 14 strikeouts while garnering a 100 game score, which is a stat that means something to someone out there. With so much material to choose from, writers still couldn’t land a single good joke.
“After a few minutes of deliberation, I came up with ‘Deja-Blue: Verlander No-Hits Jays Again’ because his last one came against Toronto as well,” MLB contributor Sarah Langs says. “But that’s fourth-paragraph info at best. After I said that, my editor slapped me in my stupid face and said ‘that was bush league shit.’ She was right.”
About three minutes before the final out was recorded, the group of writers seemed to agree on ‘This Justin: Verlander Throws Third No-No.’ However, a group of staffers dissented, arguing that they should keep the obvious tabloid-inspired headline for a doomsday-scenario fourth no-hitter.
“The truth is we don’t know how many more this guy is going to throw,” fellow writer Daniel Kramer, the leader of the dissenting movement, explains. “I mean, this guy is 36, has a WHIP under .80, and is screwing Kate Upton. Who knows what else to expect.”