- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 20, 2015

They were sitting in Section 121, Brad and Jan Scherzer, in town to watch their son pitch for just the second time this season. They had considered traveling to Milwaukee last week, but that’s a six-hour drive. They were going to visit Washington for the Fourth of July, but they had another commitment. Instead, here they were, in the lower bowel behind home plate, humidity hanging in the air.

Little did Brad and Jan Scherzer know what would follow Saturday afternoon, on the eve of Father's Day. Little did they know what kind of brilliance their son, Max, would conjure. At Nationals Park with Max’s wife, Erica May-Scherzer, they sat and cringed and held their breath as the afternoon turned into evening. They didn’t speak about what was happening on the field. They tried not to think about it. They just watched and waited.

“It’s [a] one-out-at-a-time sort of thing,” Brad Scherzer said. “All the superstitions come out.”

Then Max Scherzer threw his first major-league no-hitter in the Washington Nationals’ 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the excitement arrived like a flood. Brad and Jan Scherzer watched as their son was mobbed on the mound, then drenched with bottles of chocolate syrup. Later, they met Max in a concrete tunnel outside the Nationals’ clubhouse. They hugged and laughed. They posed for photos.

“Quite a Father's Day present, huh?” Brad Scherzer said with a chuckle. “It’s great.”

Max Scherzer struck out 10 batters and was one strike away from a perfect game. He hit pinch-hitter Jose Tabata in the elbow with a slider, a pitch that was mere inches away from the safety of catcher Wilson Ramos’ mitt. Perfection eluded him, but the no-hitter was intact.

For two hours and 21 minutes, he was masterful.

“You just watch it, one out at a time,” Brad Scherzer said. “There’s not much else you can do except enjoy it. And you enjoy what he’s doing. You see the look on his face, the determination that he’s got.”

Brad Scherzer, the co-owner of a software company, had seen outings like this before. He’s seen his son throw a no-hitter at almost every level, from Little League to high school to a stellar collegiate career at Missouri. But as the game wore on, he and his wife didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, anything to indicate that another memory was coming.

“Once I watch it on TV, I’ll be able to tell,” Jan Scherzer said. “But I don’t think so. … He’s just that pitcher.”

That Brad and Jan Scherzer were in the stands Saturday was something of a coincidence. Other plans, past and future, were changed for one reason or another. They had only been to one other game since Max had signed his seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nationals in January: His start on Opening Day, the first such start of his big-league career.

“We try to pick weekends every so often to try to see him,” Jan Scherzer said with a shrug.

The fact that it came on the eve of Father's Day only made it that much sweeter.

“It was a perfect Father's Day present,” Brad Scherzer said. “Regardless of what happened in the game, it was a perfect Father's Day present.”

After addressing the media in a press conference, Max Scherzer met his parents in the bowels of Nationals Park. A team official reminded him that he was going to appear on “SportsCenter” within the hour. The right-hander disappeared briefly, returning with silverware and a plate of food from the clubhouse for his father. “This is great stuff,” he told his dad with a grin.

Then Max Scherzer walked back through the wooden clubhouse doors to change into street clothes. Brad Scherzer tried the vegetables. Jan Scherzer continued talking to a reporter. They would be together again soon. This history, this joy, this moment could be shared.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide