At 3:50 p.m. Saturday, Fernando Valenzuela was summoned from the weight room to the phone in Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda's office.
"Who is it?" asked Valenzuela, sweat dripping from his T-shirt.
"It's Stew," a player said.
Valenzuela wiped his face, grabbed the receiver and smiled. It was the first time he and former teammate Dave Stewart had spoken since the 1988 World Series. But they had plenty to talk about.
"Congratulations," said Stewart, who threw a no-hitter for the Oakland Athletics in Toronto Friday.
"Que pasa!" said Valenzuela, who pitched a no-hitter for the Dodgers against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night.
It was the first time in modern baseball history that two complete-game no-hitters had been pitched on the same day.
It was a symbolic reunion of two players who spent three years as Dodgers together, from 1981 through most of 1983.
But this phone conversation lasted only a minute. Valenzuela praised Stewart and his teammates before suddenly excusing himself.
"Got to go to work," he said. "Adios. "
After all, it was nearly time for batting practice. And then he needed to shag fly balls in the outfield and do more exercises. In between it all, he wanted to sign some autographs for visiting youths from a Mexico City youth league.
As Valenzuela proved Saturday, you don't throw your first no-hitter after 10 years in the game without spending every day like it was your first.
"Last night was great, but today is another day, today it is back to work," Valenzuela said. "I celebrate, I feel good, it is a great feeling. But now, it is back to the usual."
Perhaps it was for him, but not for the rest of the team:
--Lasorda was talking about the joke he played on Valenzuela in the eighth inning.
"I yelled for Hatcher (Mickey) to pinch-hit for Fernando," Lasorda said. "You should have seen the look on Fernando's face."
Said Valenzuela: "I thought, 'What?' Then I look at the scoreboard again."
--The Dodger clubhouse attendants were talking about their superstitious behavior late in the game.
"Usually by the last innings, we have cleared all the players' workout clothes off their chairs, but we decided not to touch Fernando's stuff," said Dave Wright, assistant clubhouse manager. "And usually we turn off the clubhouse fan late in the game. But by the seventh inning, with the no-hitter still going, we decided to leave it going.
"Anything that might make a difference, huh?"
--Stan Javier was talking about the hardest-hit ball, a fly by Craig Wilson that he ran down in the left-field gap with two outs in the eighth inning.
"I was thinking, if a ball is hit to me, I've got to get a good jump on it," he said. "Then when he hit it, I didn't think, I just ran. And I got a good jump on it. Had it all the way."
--Juan Samuel was talking about a fielding maneuver in the ninth inning that not only saved the no-hitter but ended the game with a double play.
Samuel described fielding a grounder up the middle by Pedro Guerrero after the ball glanced off Valenzuela's glove:
"I was playing him to pull the ball, so I was right near second base, and in a good position," Samuel said. "I don't know what happens if I'm not there."
Said Dodger coach Joe Ferguson, who positions the fielders from the press box: "We know that if Guerrero hits the ball on the ground, chances are it's going to the left side, so there was no reason for Juan to be over between first and second. You make the call and just hope it works."
--Public address announcer Pete Arbogast feared for his job after his announcement before the eighth inning.
When announcing a seat location for a prize giveaway, he said, "That's Row N, as in, 'No-no.' "
A no-no is baseball lingo for a no-hitter, and one simply doesn't refer to a no-hitter by one's team while it is in progress. Even the three Dodgers standing in the outfield heard the announcement.
"I didn't think I was doing anything wrong," Arbogast. "But I guess if they had gotten a hit, I would have lost my job."
Valenzuela preferred not to analyze the best night of his career. He returned home after the game to spend time with his family, and didn't even see any televised highlights until Saturday morning.
Even then, he only saw them by accident. He was punching the television remote control box in search of World Cup soccer.
"I was trying to watch some football, and then I see Stewart and me," Valenzuela said. "It was nice. But it was yesterday."
Valenzuela's emotion was used up by his sons Fernando Jr., 7, and Ricardo, 6, and the pitcher's agent, Tony DeMarco.
Those three watched the game together from the box seats with growing suspense until they celebrated as Valenzuela never would.
"The no-hitter was coming, coming, coming . . . and when it finally happened, I sat there crying like a stupid baby," DeMarco said. "My tears were everywhere."
Meanwhile, he said, "The boys were jumping up and down and screaming, 'My pappy! My pappy!' "
The no-hitter, which came in the middle of an inconsistent season for Valenzuela, might later move DeMarco to more tears of happiness.
Despite his initial demand of a three-year contract worth $6 million last winter, Valenzuela signed a one-year deal worth $2 million with $500,000 in incentives. But he was not thrilled over a perceived lack of confidence in his staying power, and this spring he quietly vowed to earn a longer deal next winter, when he again will become a free agent.
The proving has begun. He is only 29 and, as he enjoyed showing Friday night, his shoulder problems of 1988 are but a memory.
"Many people did not believe in what I could do," Valenzuela said. "That is why I did not say last night that the no-hitter proved I have come back. I had already come back.
"That game did not show nobody nothing that I haven't already shown."
Indeed, since being sidelined for two months in 1988 because of shoulder problems, he is 16-19 with a 3.48 ERA, six complete games and two shutouts.
And one no-no.