I would be remiss to fail to write about this: On Sunday, I personally witnessed the 19th perfect game ever pitched in the 135 years of Major League Baseball history. It was phenomenal.
I was one of about 12,000 people who were privileged to be there when Dallas Braden, starting pitcher for the Oakland A’s, faced 27 Tampa Bay Rays and retired them all in succession, while the A’s offense delivered more than enough to win. (What a way to rebut the total lack of respect he got from Alex “A-Fraud” Rodriguez in just the last couple weeks.)
This after seeing the A’s win on Saturday, and then riding with Scott and Chris to Sacramento, where we saw the A’s AAA affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats, absolutely demolish the Colorado Sky Sox, 16-5. (And that following an awesome Crisis Hopkins show Friday night.)
What a weekend.
More about the perfect game: I didn’t notice that Braden was pitching a no-hitter (much less a perfect game) until the friendly fellow A’s fan next to me mentioned it in the 6th. I was marginally annoyed that he would fly in the face of superstition so boldly (you don’t mention the no-hitter before it’s over!) but it did color my experience of the next three innings. I was completely focused on the game, and nervous and quiet through most of it. When the A’s went up 4-0, I hoped for short offensive innings so that Braden would stay in his groove. I also let the guy next to me keep talking about it, but I tried to make my responses land somewhere between “polite,” “friendly,” and “discouraging.” (That’s a hard middle ground to find.) As luck would have it, I had brought along my “real” camera, so I had been taking photos throughout the game. After 8 1/2 innings, Braden had only three more outs to get; I started (poorly) taking video at that point. (I’ll post pictures and video at some point soon.)
My dad asked me today, “What do you think the odds are that you will see another one?” and I thought it was a good question. Unsurprisingly, the odds were pretty well against my seeing one to begin with. There have been something like 350,000 games played in the major leagues so far, meaning that a perfect game happens about every 18,000 games or so.
If I keep up my pace of seeing about 30 games a year, 18,000 games would take me 600 years to watch. So I’d be pretty likely to see another one if I keep going to games for 1,200 more years.
The fact it only took me less than 35 years to see one (how many standard deviations is that from 600?) is astonishing, really. I got lucky.