September 28, 2006.
A rather meaningless day in Orioles history, overall. Another crappy O's team folding their way into fourth place down the home stretch, playing at Yankee Stadium, about to get mopped up. Daniel Cabrera starting. ESPN televising the game because it's the Yankees, we're about to enter the playoffs, and hey, why not? No good bowling to show that night.
Nine innings. One hit. Two walks. Five strikeouts.
He's struck out double digits a few times. Never had Cabrera looked so good on the mound, so totally in control of his pitches. He never has since, either.
The game thread that night was pretty quiet. Most of us had given up on the team and were finding better things to do at 7:05 anyway. Another walk-filled Cabrera start seemed like a pass.
I remember I had the game on TV, but was hanging out with my then-roommate, bullshitting and drinking beer, trying to figure out something worthwhile to do with the night. We never came up with anything. Good thing, because Cabrera put on a hell of a show.
I didn't want to talk about it, didn't even want to talk about the game. I'm not big into jinxes and curses and all that other hogwash, in case you haven't noticed, but I do accept that you don't talk about a no-hitter in progress. Roch Kubatko did it the other day to Gavin Floyd against Detroit, and I wondered where he learned anything about baseball. What kind of a dork mentions a no-hitter? I don't even like it when ESPN says anything about it before switching to that game. Just say, "There's something pretty special going on at Yankee Stadium..." or the like. Jeez Louise, people.
Then-skipper Sam Perlozzo talked about Cabrera a few days later. He said, "He's got a real good note to go home and he should be a good pitcher for us. We keep saying that, but I think he's getting closer and closer and, hopefully, next year's the year."
I bought into it. "He's got a pretty good head on his shoulders," Perlozzo said. Yyyyup.
It's 2008, gang. We're still waiting for that "next year" where Cabrera "puts it all together" and becomes "a good pitcher for us."
A year and a half ago, Daniel Cabrera threw a one-hitter. It was awesome.
Tomorrow night, he starts for us as we kick off the 2008 edition of what was once a hell of a rivalry between our boys in orange and the New York Yankees. Go get 'em, Daniel.