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I didn’t know that Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton was throwing a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday until the game was practically over. But the fact that I caught the excitement of the rare baseball feat in real time, and how I shared it with friends, is another fun example of what it’s like to be a sports fan in 2018.

The game from Toronto’s Rogers Centre started at 1 p.m. PT, and rather than lie on my couch at home or sit in a bar to watch a regular season game, I worked through most of it.

On the way home, after 6 p.m. PT, I received an alert on my phone from ESPN, that Paxton hadn’t allowed a hit through eight innings. The alert came in at 6:17 p.m, and looking back at my history, it seems I missed one at 6:05 p.m. that said he’d made it through seven innings.

Now, I don’t get a lot of alerts on my phone related to sports. I don’t need to be constantly updated on everything that’s happening across a host of leagues. I don’t subscribe to a Major League Baseball package that lets me watch every game on my phone when I should be paying attention to my wife. I just like “breaking news” style updates on teams that I care about. This qualified as something I wanted to see happen live.

ESPN alerts
Alerts on Kurt Schlosser’s iPhone on Tuesday from ESPN about Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton. (GeekWire screen grab)

So, rather than get dinner started for my kids, I told them “there’s a good baseball thing happening that I have to see,” and I headed for the basement TV room.

Here’s where I try to justify paying a painfully expensive Xfinity bill every month — $150 of which is just for cable TV. I’ve avoided cutting the cord because in moments like these I like the reliability of knowing just where to go on TV to watch history play out. It didn’t have to be a silly “sportsball” thing, it could have been something of actual import — name your breaking news flavor. Being in the news business all these years has fed that appetite — I think kids call it FOMO.

So I picked up the fancy Xfinity remote control that lets me speak to it to change channels and I said “Root Sports,” knowing just where the Mariners game would be broadcast. I didn’t turn to Twitter or Facebook for running commentary from feeds I follow; I didn’t launch the ESPN app to watch animated baseballs sail across the screen in a gamecast version of the events.

I texted a few friends. “Mariners game! Now!” because my kids weren’t providing the level of shared excitement that I needed with three outs to go.

As Paxton took the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning, and recorded the first and then second outs, I stood up and pointed my phone at the TV. With two strikes on Blue Jays batter Josh Donaldson, I hit record for a video. With a 50-inch TV on the wall, I watched the sixth no-hitter in Mariners history through a 5 1/2-inch iPhone screen.

As third baseman Kyle Seager recorded the final out and Paxton was mobbed by his teammates on the pitcher’s mound, I ended the video at 44 seconds. I sat back down on my couch, briefly explained what a no-hitter was to my kids, turned off the TV and uploaded my video to my private Instagram. “Niiiiiiice,” I wrote, next to punching fist and Canadian flag emojis.

Back upstairs in the kitchen, prepping for taco Tuesday — as was the plan before a push alert delayed things — I checked my phone here and there to make sure people were enjoying the video clip I sort of ripped off from Root Sports, Major League Baseball and the Mariners — if you can steal something you paid $150 to see.

Official videos and images from the team began to fill my Twitter feed. Friends answered texts. Social media endorphins subsided.

Game over.

Have a d'eh, James! 🍁 #TrueToTheBlue

A post shared by Seattle Mariners (@mariners) on

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