Weaver's historic night a family affair
ANAHEIM -- This is why Jered Weaver elected to stay with the Angels, turning his back on the prospect of a free-agency windfall next winter.With Dave and Gail Weaver, his parents, and Kristin, his wife, in attendance and cheering every delivery, Weaver unleashed his first no-hitter on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium, silencing the Twins, 9-0, by facing two over the minimum. "That was a major part of it, to stay at home, to have the comfort of my family and friends," Weaver said, referring to his decision to sign a five-year, $85 million extension through 2016 in August. "This is why I signed here. The Southern California weather also had something to do with it. "I never expected to throw a no-hitter, to be honest. I'm happy it happened here, in front of the home fans."
His parents were a sounding board, but Weaver's decision to remain with the Angels, rather than testing the marketplace after the 2012 season, was his own."He wanted the family to be able to enjoy his career," Dave Weaver said. "He loves the West Coast. He lives in Newport Beach and recently bought a home in Westlake for the future. "Jered's a person who never really cared about money, never wanted to be rich. The opportunity came along when the Angels offered something he thought was fair. We talked about it. His wife's parents are in San Jose, the Bay Area. Security-wise, once you get seven, eight years in, you never know what's going to happen. "I never pushed him one way or another. I gave him my support and told him, 'Follow your heart.' That's what he did." When teammate Ervin Santana threw a no-hitter in Cleveland in July, it was the first by an Angels pitcher since Mike Witt's 1984 perfect game. There have been six others in franchise history: four by Nolan Ryan and one each by Bo Belinsksy and Clyde Wright. College baseball's premier pitcher at Long Beach State, where he met his future bride as a sophomore, Weaver had only one previous no-hitter, as a kid. That came in a seven-inning midnight game, he recalled, in a wood-bat tournament in Alaska. "I'm not sure if that one counts," Weaver said, grinning. His father, who coached Jered and big brother Jeff from ages 7 on up, was in the stands in Alaska and had his customary seat alongside Gail and Kristin for this momentous occasion. "I'm probably a lot more nervous than Jered before a game," Dave Weaver said in an upbeat Angels clubhouse as Jered met the press. "I live and die with every pitch Jered and Jeff make. "I've seen this happen so many times. Jeff had a no-hitter for 8 2/3 when he was with Detroit in Cleveland many years ago, and a guy got a base hit. "I don't get too excited until 8 1/3 innings. Once we got that first out in the ninth, it got pretty hectic. I figured he had a chance. "I don't think anything tops this but the World Series when Jeff won Game 5 [for the Cardinals in 2006]. I'm hoping this organization can get back there."
There were no spectacular plays behind Weaver, but Mark Trumbo showed his progress at third base by charging and throwing out Jamey Carroll on a third-inning bunt. It was enough to convince manager Mike Scioscia to keep Trumbo in the game to its conclusion.Weaver kept pounding the strike zone in his nine-strikeout, one-walk masterwork. After Carroll's deep fly ball was handled by Vernon Wells in left leading off the ninth, Denard Span took a third strike. With the crowd of 27,288 on its feet, roaring, Weaver's 121st pitch was driven to right by Alexi Casilla. Torii Hunter, who'd made a fine running catch on Trevor Plouffe's fly ball to close the fifth, glided back to handle it, touching off a celebration in the middle of the diamond led by catcher Chris Iannetta. As Weaver was handling a postgame television interview, his parents and wife made it down to the field. "It's awesome, man," Weaver said of the family affair. "It's an unbelievable experience to have them come down on the field and shed some tears -- happy tears. "My dad's been there since the beginning with my mom and brother. I know my brother was watching. My dad was my coach in Little League. To bring him out on the field, I'll never forget that." According to Dave Weaver, "We just hugged the hell out of each other and said we loved each other. He was just so excited, so jubilant. It was a dream come true for him and for all of us." Kristin, Jered said, "goes to every home game. In seven seasons here, she's missed one." Weaver, his cross-firing delivery disguising his deep repertoire to right-handed hitters, continues to take his game to higher levels. After starting the All-Star Game in Phoenix in July and pitching a scoreless inning, he finished second in the American League Cy Young Award race to Detroit's Justin Verlander, the league MVP. Weaver had career bests in wins (18), ERA (2.41) and innings (235 2/3). His goal every season is to improve on what he did the previous year -- a tall order for the the 6-foot-7 right-hander from Simi Valley, Calif. He is off to another blazing start at 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA through six outings, registering 45 strikeouts against only seven walks and 28 hits in 44 2/3 innings. Dan Haren, Weaver's good buddy, knows he has a rough act to follow on Thursday night against visiting Toronto. "All I can do now," Haren said, grinning, "is pitch a perfect game."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.