It has long been a wish of mine to witness perfection. To see exaclty what a pitcher has to do to convince the baseball Gods he is worthy of being in the elite. I had hoped I would see this from start to finish. On Thursday, July 23, I settled for the last three outs.
Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox hurled a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that does not sport a poor lineup by any means.
I’m going through my usual routine of checking my e-mail for updates on my master’s project then clicking over to ESPN’s homepage. Plastered on the front of their website is Buehrle’s picture. At first glance I thought, “No, they traded Buehrle?”
True to ESPN’s jinx-happy format, the caption under the photo told of Buehrle being a mere three outs away from perfection.
I raced downstairs and turned on the TV, hoping ESPN would switch to the game. They did not. Figures.
I raced back upstairs and thought I would settle for MLB.com’s gamecast feature.
Midway through Gabe Kapler’s at-bat the gamecast alerted that the game could now be seen on the MLB network. I hustled back downstairs frantically searching for the remote, much to the chagrin of my dogs.
I flipped on the game just in time to see Kapler hit a jack.
“Oh no,” I thought. “This sucks. Once again I just miss one.”
But White Sox center fielder Dewayne Wise had other plans and made a freakish catch to rob Kapler of a home run and preserve baseball immortality, at least for two more outs. Mind you, Wise was a defensive replacement in the 9th. You NEVER mess with the defense during a perfecto. The White Sox did and for some strange reason the move paid off. With that catch, the game was over, perfection was sealed. You get robbed of a homer in the 9th during a perfect game and you’re not going to get that baserunner. It’s just not happeneing.
After Hernandez went down hacking I was tingling. The television was electric. I had tunnel-vision. My brother, who hates sports, was mesmerized at the prospect of seeing what less than 20 major league pitchers had ever done in baseball.
Jason Bartlett his a weak tapper to short and I was jumping out of my shoes.
I finaly saw perfection and it was glorious. These spectacles are baseball’s gifts to sports. Nowhere else can you see something like this. I had missed Randy Johnson’s because I was in the car.
Before that, I refused to watch David Cone or David Wells because I hate the Yankees. Fair enough. I saw four Red Sox no-hitters.
Not a single no-hitter (with the exception of Jon Lester because of all he had been through) was as amazing as this. Perfection in baseball really is…perfect.
For one day, Mark Buehrle brought baseball back to its roots, back to the days before free agency and high-priced buyouts. Back to the days where lifers like Buehrle were embedded in their respective fan-bases. Back to the days when perfection cemented you as baseball royalty.
Someone crown Mark Buehrle.