SAN DIEGO — Trevor Hoffman — as you’d expect — was locked in during the ninth inning Friday night.
The legendary Padres right-hander had seen his share of no-hit heartbreak over the years. He refused to let himself get carried away until the 27th out of Joe Musgrove‘s no-hit bid.
When Ha-Seong Kim’s throw settled in Jurickson Profar’s glove for the final out, “all hell broke loose” in the Hoffman household.
“I felt like I was in that pile, man,” Hoffman said on Saturday. “I was jumping up and down, fists in the air, hootin’ and hollerin’.”
Mark Grant couldn’t quite let loose like Hoffman in his living room. He was in the broadcast booth, calling the game and doing his best to contain his nerves.
Like Hoffman, Grant has been around the Padres for decades, as the first no-hitter continually eluded the franchise. He was there when Chris Young carried a no-no into the ninth against the Pirates in 2006. Since then he’d seen Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles all make ill-fated bids at history.
“We’ve been teased,” said Grant, the former Padres pitcher and the team’s longtime color commentator. “The carrot has been dangling in front of us for many, many years. I was nervous.”
At long last, the monkey is off the Padres’ collective back. The fact that it was Musgrove — born and raised a Padres fan in San Diego County — made it even sweeter.
“Well worth the wait,” Grant said. “Because Joe was the author of the first no-hitter. It’s a fairy tale story.”
The Padres’ first no-hitter would’ve been special no matter who threw it. But Hoffman admitted he got some extra satisfaction, knowing that the man who accomplished the feat could truly appreciate what the moment meant to Padres fans.
“I don’t think people are going to understand it outside of San Diego,” Hoffman said. “He’s very well aware of the number of games the organization has played without having a no-no. The 8,205 — it’s just such a heavy number. … The pressure he was under, it can only go up tenfold. The way he handled that, under that circumstance — he just stepped up big time. I just think that’s so cool that it was him.”
Even more so for Grant, whose relationship with the Musgrove family dates back to the mid-2000s. Grant frequents Caffe Adesso, the local coffee shop owned and operated by the Musgrove family in Alpine, some 30 miles east of Petco Park. Grant first met Musgrove’s father at a barbecue event for the San Diego police department. Mark Musgrove was a police officer and has been a Padres fan since the team’s inception in 1969. He and Grant keep in regular contact.
“You’re not going to meet nicer people,” Grant said.
Grant first met Joe Musgrove when Joe was a teenager. Musgrove was taking a communications class at Grossmont High School and contacted Grant to see if it would be OK to shadow the Padres’ announcers for a night in the home broadcast booth. Grant, knowing the Musgrove family well, was happy to oblige, and Joe sat behind the broadcasters, taking notes on a clipboard.
A decade later, that same eager Padres fan was authoring history on the mound in Texas.
“You couldn’t write it any better,” Grant said. “What makes it even better is that he’s the kind of kid you root for and want those things to happen. It’s perfect. It was the perfect storm.”
The Hoffman house had some visitors on Friday night, too. The family of former Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay stopped by for dinner, and they watched the game together. (Mark Kotsay, currently the third-base coach of the Oakland A’s, was not in attendance, but his wife and kids were.)
The two families celebrated when right fielder Wil Myers made a running catch on a sinking line drive in the eighth and again when Jake Cronenworth snared a sharp line drive in the ninth.
“You’re starting to piece it together and thinking, maybe this could happen,” Hoffman said. “I was just riveted to the television.”
It happened, and the Hoffman and Kotsay families basked in the moment together. Like so many other San Diego families, they understood the gravity of the moment.
Nearly two decades before, a young Joe Musgrove sat in the outfield seats at Qualcomm Stadium and was fortunate enough to catch a ball thrown his way by a Padres player. None other than Mark Kotsay.
“Baseball has a way of writing some of those things for us sometimes,” Hoffman said. “It’s pretty cool.”