SAN FRANCISCO -- The reaction was not all harsh regarding the decision by Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to bypass a shot at baseball history Friday night.
Roberts pulled pitcher Ross Stripling from his major league debut, as the young right-hander was composing a masterpiece. Stripling had not allowed a hit, while sitting at 100 pitches, when Roberts went to the bullpen.
Even San Francisco Giants fans booed, first when Roberts emerged from the dugout in the eighth inning, and then again when the pitching change was made. They had less of an issue when the Giants rallied to win the game on the strength of two home runs.
Roberts never expressed regret, at least when it came to protecting the 26-year-old Stripling, who is two years removed from Tommy John surgery. He was downtrodden that the game got away, but he was not going to be convinced that he needed to think less about the future.
He wasn't alone. There was another person in the lobby of the team's hotel Saturday morning expressing an appreciation for the future.
"One of the cool things that I experienced this morning was Ross' dad was down in the lobby today and just sought me out," Roberts said "He came up to me and, really kind of emotional, just thanked me for him and his wife for looking out for his son."
When you meet Ross Stripling you see a kid with a good head on his shoulders. When you hear a story like this it becomes clear where it came from.
"When you have a father and a mother who know their kid's story and what he's endured to get here, they enjoy that moment more than anyone," Roberts said. "For him to say thank you for taking care of my son's future, and our family, and I'll have him and his mom's support forever . For me, I felt good about it regardless but to get the parent's stamp of approval is always a good thing."
A day after his stirring debut, Striping admitted the outing was the first thing on his mind Saturday.
"So the night before I didn't sleep very well, I was pretty anxious," he said. "But last night seemed fine. I woke up thinking about it, for sure, but I wasn't tossing and turning I wouldn't say."
Stripling had 174 texts waiting for him when he finally grabbed his phone following the outing. He only had replied to about a quarter of them by Saturday morning. One he did get back to was from his former roommate, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha.
"He just said, 'Congratulations. Good to see you up there. Hopefully we run into each other down the road,'" Stripling said.
As the buzz of Friday night's game subsides, Roberts' decision seems to be met with a more level-headed reaction. Stripling will never get another chance at throwing a no-hitter in his major league debut, but he only gets one crack at a major league career as well.
"I think that when I look back at it, I will think, 'Wow, for a first start that was awesome," he said. "But I'll also think when I walked out of the locker room, there were 21 of my closest friends looking at me, clapping for me so that was pretty special. That will probably be, honestly, what I remember the most. But as far as being at the Giants, in San Francisco, awesome atmosphere, huge rivalry, I couldn't ask for a better debut, I guess."