“Make-A-Wish” Helps Crippled Franchise Throw No-Hitter


It was an emotional scene in Miami on Sunday as the Make-A-Wish Foundation teamed up with the American League Central Division Champion Detroit Tigers to bring a brief moment of joy to a crippled baseball franchise. The Tigers refused to get a hit off Marlins starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez, but providing such a special event for a group so physically challenged is not as easy one would expect it to be. The inept Marlins offense was unable to score through eight innings, leaving Henderson to walk off the mound in the ninth uncertain if his nine no-hit innings would even result in a win, not to mention put him on a list with Marlins legends Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett and Aníbal Sánchez.

As has been known all season, the Marlins were in need of a miracle. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, however, is no ordinary group of miracle workers. They consulted with Detroit manager Jim Leyland as the Marlins came to bat in the bottom of the ninth on a way to complete this unthinkable task.  After another weak ground out to start the inning, they finally stumbled upon a couple of base runners. The end was near, but this was still the Marlins they were dealing with. Tigers pitcher Luke Putkonen bounced a pitch that allowed the runner to advance, setting up the feeble Marlins bats to score the final run merely by making an out. Alas, if Adeiny Hechavarria’s bat were only feeble, it would be an upgrade. His ground out froze Giancarlo Stanton at third. The Marlins were just one out away from taking their no hitter to extra innings.

Chris Coghlan stepped to the plate for the Marlins and, despite four swings, could not put the ball in play. He did, however, walk to load the bases. It was becoming clear that Miami was incapable of driving in the winning run with a base hit. Though they could still win with another walk, pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs – with 22 walks in 267 plate appearances – could not be trusted to take the free pass. That’s when the magic happened. The only way the Marlins could pull this off was with a pitch so bad that not even Dobbs would swing at it, nor could catcher Brayan Pena block it.

Wish granted.

“We’ve been privileged to have one of the more successful franchise’s in baseball,” Tiger manager Jim Leyland told reporters after the game. “As such, we have a responsibility to help those less fortunate than ourselves and fewer teams are less fortunate than the Marlins.”

Miami manager Mike Redmond was quite grateful: “I want to thank Jim and the entire Tigers organization for letting us feel like Major Leaguers for the first time this season. It was a very special moment for so many of these kids who may never see a Major League ever again.”

Miami owner Jeffrey Loria was also reached for comment following the contest: “Make-A-Wish Foundation, huh? I wonder I can use this as a tax write off.”

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