Watching Perfection

There are some things that many baseball fans never get to see. Pirates fans never get to see a winning season. I think there are some Dodgers fans that have never actually seen a game.  And almost no fan gets to see the elusive perfect game. Now I, along with my wife, my parents, and 42K other screaming fans, are part of the Exclusive Order of People who have Witnessed a Perfecto. We can now hold that over other fans for the rest of our lives and have automatic credibility in any sports bar. While I’ve seen many amazing things in my years following the game, like Barry Bonds hit the leather off balls, the Giants win and lose Championships, I don’t think any of them are quite as special as what I witnessed last night.

There was a big difference between a World Series and a perfect game. As a team fan, you have to love and covet a World Series Championship above all else. After all, that’s what they are playing for, right? However, as a baseball fan, it doesn’t get much better than a Perfecto. Lincecum shut the Braves out to start the 2010 post season run, and he ended it on a high note against Texas with 10 Ks. As amazing as both of those games were, he wasn’t perfect. In each of them, he made a few mistakes. A team can win the WS without being perfect, but each AB is an opportunity to blow a perfect game. Even more so, each batted ball threatens the perfection.  I might have let out a high pitched scream when Blanco laid out on the warning track, at the furthest point from home plate possible, with the ball in his hand. There is absolutely no reason that should have been caught; Schafer should have had a triple. While that play instilled some confidence that something magic was happening that night, it also highlighted how fragile a perfect game is. Once Arias double clutched and made a shaky throw to Belt for the final out, the entire stadium let out a sigh of relief in the form of a thunderous roar.

Some of the stats flying around

  • First Giants Franchise perfect game
    • That means 128 years without
    • Those years included Christy Mathewson, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, and a host of other greats
  • 22 perfect game in the history of baseball
  • The only other perfect game that included at least 14 strikeouts was thrown by Sandy Koufax
  • Ted Barrett became the first Major League Umpire to call two perfect games
  • Aubrey Huff bruised his knee…jumping over the dugout rail after the 27th out

I think that any long term contract that rivals the GDP of many small countries is ridiculous for any player, especially a pitcher. But as long as they are going to happen, these past two days have made me very happy with some of Sabean’s recent transactions. Obviously, I’m talking about Bumgarner and Cain. In relation to his peers and what he has (and likely will) do, Bumgarner’s contract is a crazy good deal. Looking out to the end of his 5 year, $35 million deal will put Bumgarner at the same point in his career as Lincecum is now; same service time, except two years younger. And I don’t think it is unreasonable to think that he will have similar stats to Timmy coming into this year; he is capable of an ERA in the low 3s, and he got started at the right time (missing the dreaded post-Bonds win drought) to rack up some serious wins by then. The main differences; he’ll make $11.5-12 million in that year (compared to Lincecum’s $22 million this year) and have accumulated about $35 million by that time (Lincecum’s wallet is padded with about $64 million at this point). It makes that contract look like quite the bargain. Heck, even if he crashes and burns, the whole contract is less than what the Giants spent on Zito, Rowand, and Renteria in 2010 alone.

Cain’s contract is quite a bit larger, but it sure feels good to have that guy locked up for so long. He continues to prove that he is worth that long term investment.

Do you think Lincecum’s season would be going differently if he had signed the contract offered to him? It worked for Cain and Bumgarner.

I wonder if when the celebrations in the clubhouse were dying down, Bumgarner went up to Cain and said, in that Southern drawl, “That was cool, but you didn’t hit a homerun.”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Watching Perfection

  1. Some how by great fortune I had the night off, should have been working, and was initially excited about the Giants ability to score runs (10) which obvously gets over looked in a perfect game but still worth highlighting. I cannot imagine the energy created in the stadium with 40K+ fans going crazy, I can only figure it was much like the World Series game we attended. It was about the 7th inning when your sister keyed in that something special was going on and the energy in our living room had to mirror the emotion of the stadium. The announcers changed how the described the game in an attempt to avoid saying, “No hitter or perfect game.” Sticking with, over and over, “Not one player has made it to first base.” Truly an amazing game even from 839 miles away.

    Lincecum needs to turn it around quick and Zito is just Zito maybe he can go on the DL soon and save me some heart ache.

    • It was certainly pretty special. We had pretty great fortune to be there, but we almost didn’t make it. Katie and I got there late, I got there in the 3rd inning and she had to stay back to get a little work done and didn’t get there until the 6th.

      Incidentally, I heard Jon Miller on KNBR about a week ago talking about the superstition of not mentioning the perfect game or no hitter. He totally doesn’t believe in it, laid out very compelling rational for his lack of belief in it (only as Jon Miller can), and ended by saying he would still never violate that superstition on air just because he would be afraid of the hate mail he would get. It is always funny listening to them dance around it.

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