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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Philip's Perfection

There are some things in life, as well as in sports, that are just very unlikely and defy the odds.

Odds of getting struck by lightening:  1 in 1 million
Odds of winning this recent MegaMillions lottery:  1 in 178 million
Odds of being in a plane crash:  1 in 25 million
Odds of being hit by a tornado:  1 in 2 million
Odds of a Baseball game being perfect:  1 in 18,000

You could say Philip Humber struck it rich yesterday afternoon as he etched his name into baseball history by being the 21st MLB player to record a perfect game.

Humber has always had the pedigree to be a very successful MLB starting pitcher.  He was drafted No. 3 overall by the Mets in 2004, a pick after the Tigers selected Justin Verlander.  And, as we know, Verlander isn't in "The Perfect Club" just yet although he continues to try and get in.  He pleads his case in the link above.

Humber's career was slowed down by an eventual Tommy John surgery and was soon traded to Minnesota as part of a package that landed the Mets an elite starting pitcher, Johan Santana.  Humber didn't even manage to win an MLB game until 2010 and yet, in his 30th start as a MLB pitcher, he was perfect.

He took advantage of a Seattle team that has struggled to hit the ball and score runs this season.  The team's youth and inexperience was on display as Humber had them guessing all afternoon with his fastball and changeup.  Humber was able to get the first batter in the 9th, Saunders, to strike out on one of those changeups.  Then, Jaso flied out to right with a lazy fly ball.  Then, with one out to go, Humber struck out Ryan on a pitch that would have been ball four.  Ryan couldn't check his swing and AJ picked up the baseball and threw it down to first to complete the historic feat.

And as unlikely as this feat was, the White Sox faithful have been apart of this before back in 2009 with Mark Buehrle.  Those of you that might not know, I am a White Sox fan.  I also happened to be sitting in the seats that day down the 3rd base side.  It was a lazy Thursday afternoon, July 23rd, 2009 to be exact.  One might ask what was I doing in Chicago that day?  Well, my buddy (who is a Cubs fan, poor guy) and myself decided to take that Thursday and Friday off.  The Sox played at home on Thursday and then we would swing over to the North Side the following day for the Cubs and Reds, my first trip to Wrigley.  But, nothing could top what we would witness on that Thursday afternoon.  We took the redline train that morning and stumbled into the ballpark after drinking a lil too much Jameson the night before.

I wasn't even aware that the game was perfect until the 7th inning when I was receiving text messages from friends that were aware I was at the game. The scoreboard showed 0 hits for Tampa Bay but did not show the number of walks by Buehrle.  But, this game had it all.  Clearly great pitching from Buehrle, a grand slam by Josh Fields, and a perfect game saving catch by Dewayne Wise in the 9th inning up against the left center field wall.

I was proud and overjoyed to be 1 of the 28,036 in attendance that day and I hope many Sox fans were in Seattle yesterday to witness Phil Humber throw the 21st perfect game in MLB history.  Lighting just struck twice in 3 years for the White Sox.

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