Sports Mayhem: A No-Hitter, Spurs Win and More

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester throws a no-hitter, Spurs knock out the Hornets, the Detroit Red Wings will battle for the Stanley Cup and Charles Barkley swears off gambling!

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BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from the NPR studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, no-hitters. I'm Rachel Martin.

MIKE PESCA, host:

And I'm Mike Pesca. It's Tuesday, May 20th, 2008, and you know what a no-hitter is, right?

MARTIN: Well, I thought I did. A no-hitter is in a baseball game and I thought it's when no one gets any hits.

PESCA: Right.

MARTIN: Thus, no hitters.

PESCA: No one got a hit, right? Right.

MARTIN: No hits.

PESCA: So, what was the confusion? Did you not count foul balls? Like, no one actually makes contact?

MARTIN: I thought it was no hits so no one would get on a base.

PESCA: Right. You get can get a walk, though.

MARTIN: But you can get a walk.

PESCA: Right, OK. So you did know. I just heard there was some confusion, I said, that's one of those self-explanatory things like a six shooter or a Coast Guard ice breaker.

MARTIN: I thought so, but then I assumed no one would ever - I forgot about the balls. I forgot about the throwing of the - they're called balls, right?

PESCA: Well, you can get a hit and if a guy catches it - anyways.

MARTIN: Fouls?

PESCA: No one hits safely and reaches base. This is the definition of a no-hitter. Coming up on the show, a new virtual reality program recreates the Iraq War for returning soldiers dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder. We'll talk with the man who created it.

MARTIN: There's a new movie on HBO this weekend called "Recount." It's all about the weeks after the 2000 election. We'll talk with the guy who researched and wrote that film.

PESCA: And the guy who wrote it was on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Coincidentally, NPR's Jamie Tarabay is talking about how "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" helped her cope while on assignment in Iraq. We'll get today's headlines in just a minute - and here's why we were talking about no-hitters - but first...

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Mr. JOE CASTIGLIONE (Announcer, WRKO): Lester awaits the pitch. Swing and a miss! No hitter! Jon Lester has no-hit the Kansas City Royals! He's being picked up off the ground by Jason Varitek and mobbed by his teammates. Jon Lester, with a no hitter, as the Red Sox beat Kansas City seven to nothing!

PESCA: That's Joe Castiglione on Boston's WRKO last night after Jon Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in the 107-year history of the Boston Red Sox. Here's Lester after the game.

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Mr. JON LESTER (Pitcher, Boston Red Sox): Something that I'll remember forever, you know, a lot of excitement. I had more adrenaline going in the ninth inning than I did in the first inning, which, you know, I guess is normal for that situation.

MARTIN: It was an especially emotional event for the 24-year-old pitcher who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006. After spending the better part of a year in treatment, Lester returned to the team late last season, and he pitched the game that won the Sox the World Series. Now he has another special win in his very young career.

PESCA: After the game, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he was filled with pride.

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Mr. TERRY FRANCONA (Manager, Boston Red Sox): To watch him do that tonight was beyond words. I mean, what a story. To see him do that was - I feel like a proud parent. I know we have no right to say that, but it's probably how we feel.

MARTIN: Well, Francona has at least some right to say that. Lester says Francona is more than just a coach to him.

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Mr. LESTER: Through everything I've been through, he's been like a second dad to me. just being able to talk to him, you know, not as a manager but just as a friend, and you know, he cares a lot about his players, and he doesn't - it's not just about what you can do on the field. It's what type of person you are and he cares a lot about that.

PESCA: More sports news to report. Basketball. The Spurs beat the Hornets last night in game seven of their NBA playoff series. They advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they'll take on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers starting tomorrow night. The Eastern Conference Finals are between Detroit and Boston. They begin tonight.

MARTIN: And in hockey, the Detroit Red Wings put away the Dallas Stars to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. They'll take on the upstart Pittsburgh Penguins beginning on Saturday.

PESCA: Oh, those upstarts.

MARTIN: Yeah.

PESCA: So, with all the sports action a lot of money must have changed hands in Las Vegas. One guy reportedly keeping his hands clean, retired basketball star Charles Barkley. He says he's giving up gambling, although maybe not soon enough for his creditors. The district attorney of Clark County, Nevada, says the former NBA star could face jail time if he doesn't settle his 400,000 dollar gambling debt.

MARTIN: Yikes.

PESCA: Yeah. Barkley says he's already paid up. And Barkley does point out that to him, 400,000 dollars is like 400 dollars to a poorer guy to which we say, yeah, it's still 400,000 dollars.

MARTIN: Oh, Charles. You can go to npr.org throughout the day for updates on this story. Now, let's get some more of the day's news headlines with the BPP's Mark Garrison.

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