Alec Mills wasn’t expecting the facial expression he saw when he watched a video clip of the final out of his no-hitter Sunday.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Mills said. “I don’t think I’ve ever stuck my tongue out in my entire life.”
On Sunday he did, after pounding his right hand in his glove and throwing his hands over his head. By the time he spoke to the media after the game, the final moments of the Cubs’ 12-0 win at Milwaukee were a blur of emotions. Mills didn’t remember sticking out his tongue. But the Michael Jordan-esque expression kicked off an aptly Chicago-themed celebration.
It continued with his family after the team got off the bus. Paige Mills, Alec’s wife, ordered Pequod’s Pizza.
“I hadn’t tried it yet,” Alec Mills said. “I think it might be my favorite pizza I’ve tried in the city so far. That was a cool Chicago way to celebrate.”
Paige Mills said on Twitter that she’d originally planned Pequod’s for the off-day Monday.
“But thought Sunday night was a better occasion for it,” she posted.
Mills said he doesn’t know how many congratulatory calls and texts he received after his no-hitter, but at one point he had over 320 unread text messages. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, chairman Tom Ricketts and president of business operations Crane Kenney all reached out to say, congratulations.
It wasn’t until Mills had a moment to decompress Monday that the enormity of his accomplishment hit the 29-year-old right-hander.
“I sat down on the couch,” Mills said, “and was like, ‘What did I just do?’”
Mills spent his past two seasons as a Cub in relative anonymity. In 2018 and 2019, he appeared in a total of 16 games, six starts.
But on Sunday, Mills threw the 16th no-hitter in Cubs history in just his 15th MLB start. The only Cub to toss a no-no in fewer starts was Burt Hooton, in 1972.
“Let’s just put it this way, no one’s ever recognized me in the streets so far in Chicago,” Mills said. “I don’t know if the chances of that are maybe a little higher now.”