“Greztky” is an-all purpose term encapsulating everything that is positive in Canuck culture, after “The Great One” stole the hearts of an entire nation, for his graceful and clutch play on the flawless ice surfaces of the National Hockey League.
There is another legend from the far North in the making, except he is crafting his legend on the marathon grind of the baseball diamond, and not the frozen tundra of the NHL. British Columbia native James Paxton became the first Canadian born major leaguer to forge a masterpiece of a no-hitter since 1945, and the irony only begins as he accomplished the feat in his home country, by shackling the entire lineup of the Toronto Blue Jays with high octane fastballs and razor sharp breaking pitches in a 5-0 Seattle whitewash. The tall left handed starting pitcher with the telling and appropriately brash nickname of his own in “Big Maple”, needed only 99 pitches to neatly wrap the eloquent gift to the baseball gods in hurling the 299th no-hitter in the history of the game. Before his amazing accomplishment, Paxton was predominately known around baseball fandom, the viral social networking community, and animal rights groups, as a punchline of mother nature in winning the affection of a disoriented, but patriotic bald eagle.
The efficient manner in which Paxton disposed of the Blue Jays is rare for a modern age power pitcher, as high pitch counts typically accumulate in earlier frames and the benchmark of nine innings of excellence has been replaced by the more attainable and reasonable, seven sterling innings and hand it to the bullpen. Over his last starts, “Big Maple” has lived up Spring training hype, and in 16 innings he has yielded only 5 hits, while fanning 23.
Paxton’s gem is already the third no-hitter of the 2018 season.
Last week on local Seattle sports radio station KJR 950 AM, during an interview with host Dave “Softy” Mahler, Seattle pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. played the role of the soothsayer and hinted to listeners that he and Paxton made some subtle and effective changes to the lefty’s approach on the mound. If the last two starts are any indication of future success, Seattle baseball fans are in for a season long treat.
Reports out of Seattle City Hall indicate that the Council is exploring ways to exploit the recent success of the Mariners in solving the self-inflicted homeless crises, heightened by reckless spending and incessant enablement.