We all held our breath. Some of us since 2004.
Tonight, Homer Bailey threw the Reds' first no hitter since 1988. Bailey was 2 years old when Browning wrote his name in the history books. With his eight years of tenure in the Reds' system, it's easy lose sight of the fact that "ol' Hoss" is just 26 years old.
Homer was locked-in nearly the whole game, peering sternly over his glove and working in lock-step with Ryan Hanigan (which I guess is what they say about every no-hitter). His delivery hid the endless refinement of his 227 games as a professional. His fastball moved and climbed the ladder on command. His concentration broke visibly after the first out in the ninth. But then, just barely: with an eye roll and a lip-bite.
The once-recalcitrant Texas prospect was gracious in his post-game interview.
Homer's career arc in the majors has been marked by slow, but constant progress. Sometimes it's been too slow for the patience of Reds' fans. Tonight's performance should wash that way for a least a little while, if his season hasn't.
There's no less reason to dwell on unrealistic expectations now than there was at 7:05, but no hitters are essentially surreal - just the word Homer used to describe the experience tonight.
Tonight's game injected some enthusiasm into the lame duck session of the Reds' charmed season. And, for those who hadn't been watching him closely, a heavy dose of enthusiasm into the career of a pitcher who has been plagued - until recently - by a little too much of it.
Bailey struck out a career-high 10, allowing just two runners to reach - one walk and one error.