By Elliot Chester
Collin McHugh’s third pitch as a major league baseball player was not a bad one, a four-seam 91-mile-per-hour fastball that tailed away from Charlie Blackmon, a slap-hitting nobody who had just two hits all season entering the late August game. But Blackmon, recently installed as the Colorado Rockies’ starting right fielder due to a rash of injuries, stayed with the pitch and sliced the ball past the jutting field-level seats of Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, and into the left field corner for an easy double.
In a seat halfway down the first baseline and about 30 rows up from the diamond, Adam Cantrell experienced an odd sensation: release. “That relieved a little bit of tension,” remembers Cantrell, McHugh’s first cousin and former coach at Providence Christian Academy, where McHugh first began to show flashes of the potential whose limits are still not clear. “It was like, ‘OK, don’t have to worry about the no-hitter anymore.’”
McHugh, oblivious to his co...