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When a pitcher has a no-hitter or perfect game going there is a lot of superstition and etiquette surrounding what goes on in the field of play and in the dugout. The pitcher is expected to always sit in the same spot in the dugout between innings, the opposing team is expected not to try to bunt for a base hit in the late innings, etc.

What amount of this etiquette/superstition does, or should, apply to the broadcasters or others who report on the game? Where does the duty to the fans and effectively communicating what is going on in the game (especially in radio where what you say is all you communicate) end?

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1 Answer 1

Being a "should" question makes this difficult to answer, but I'll try.

The superstition by the players actually has some basis in reality. The idea is to not inflate the event in the pitchers mind. It's doubtful, but at many points throughout the game the pitcher may not even be aware of a perfect game or no hitter is in progress. In any event, the idea that you could jinx it actually helps keep an atmosphere of normality around a pitcher who simply has a job to do.

Announcers and fans have no reason to abide by this superstition because the pitcher and other players should be largely unaware of what they are saying. In practice, many fans will openly talk about a no-hitter or perfect game while it's in progress (I've witnessed both at Kenny Rogers perfect game against the Angels in Arlington) and networks will often "cut in" to a game in progress while a perfect game is alive in the late innings. I've yet to see any restrictive etiquette around a broadcasters ability to talk about a perfect game/no hitter while in process.

Knowing that baseball fans can often be as superstitious as the players themselves, some may have a problem with this. You can't please everyone though, especially not those who don't live in reality.

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+1, my understanding of no-hitter etiquette has extended primarily to the teams themselves - don't bother the starter, don't bunt for cheap hits late, etc. However, many broadcasters are ex-players, so they may choose to follow the same rules, particularly if they're the broadcast crew for the team with the no-hitter going. –  JW8 May 7 '12 at 22:02

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