Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Perfection and its Rarity (or lack thereof after this May)

In the modern era, (writing this as if May never happened) eighteen men--including one during the World Series--have achieved perfection. Perfection in retiring 27 men in a row, perfection in complete isolation from the rest of your team until the perfection is complete, and perfection that can be achieved by an accomplished man, or one that has never made a significant impact in the MLB pitching world. However, in a period of just three weeks, this rare feat looked all too common. Starting on Mother's Day with Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden, and ending this past Saturday with previous Cy Young winner Roy Halladay. After this madness, twenty men have now achieved a feat that is not only rare, but can give you massive jitters, stomach pains, and loss of all temperance.

In July of 2009, we all raved about "The Catch" and White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle pitching the first perfect game in five years (performed by who else but Randy Johnson) and doing it in an exciting fashion. Ten months later, the baseball gods took this big mama of a perfect game, impregnated it, and had two healthy twins--within the same month.

Dallas Braden, up until this past Mother's Day, was pretty much an absolute nobody to people who only really knew a great deal about the National League [raises hand]. This guy had a losing record at this point, and just had the usual bag of pitches, with the changeup being the best pitch. I'm assuming that the Tampa Bay Rays wanted to be involved in another bit of history since they haven't won a World Series yet (and they most likely will come October) because they have become the second team to have been pummeled in consecutive perfect games in MLB history (the first team being the LA Dodgers).
Official Aside: In a way, this makes me laugh, because there are these "underground, unwritten rules" of baseball, and 3B Evan Longoria almost nearly broke one and upset the baseball gods. C'mon, why would you want to try to break a no-no in the 5th inning with a bunt single? Are you that much of a party pooper? Do you want to fatefully screw your team over for the next ten years? Believe me, if I was being shut out by some dude who was on fire on the mound, I'd let things take their course and if I got a ball to hit, well that just sucks for the pitcher. I wouldn't be cheap and yoink a bunt single out of a guy to break a no-hitter during a game. If it were a pitcher's duel, I'd totally understand, but c'mon, let the guy have his day. Obviously, I like to believe in sports-related fate.

This past Saturday, a modern-day baseball record was made as the shortest period between perfect games has been set at 20 days. Yes, twenty. This one was performed by Roy Halladay, one of the big talks of the baseball world over the past eight months. Pretty funny how it comes at a time where the Philadelphia Phillies had scored only 5 runs in a week. Dead serious guys, the offense died [Still is, in case if you were wondering]. Their only run of the night came from a three-base error out in center field. Anyway, baseball critics know what Halladay is capable of, and he is capable of going 8-9 innings every time he's out there. This was really bound to happen at some point, because let's be honest--Roy came off of two horrible starts in the past, and you know how stoic this guy looks in the dugout. Everybody practically avoided him in the dugout because if they did their legs and pectoral muscles would be chewed off and they knew they weren't going to go back out onto the field looking like pec-less Lieutenant Dan.
It was a nice touch of sportsmanship afterward; the Marlins took off the rubber and awarded this to Halladay after the game, and for those who did not attend the game and want a piece of history, the Marlins organization are selling the remaining tickets from that game [because God only knows there are so many seats in that stadium].

So in short, baseball fans have experienced a whirlwind of events in just one month. What is that like on the heart? You basically need cardiac defibrillation.


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