South Side Spectacular 07/24/2009Posted by sportretort in mlb, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: american league, Buehrle, chicago white sox, dewayne wise, mlb, perfect game
Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox achieved baseball history yesterday. Buehrle retired all 27 batters he faced.
He threw the 18th perfect game in MLB history. That’s it. 18! Remember that this game started before the turn of the century. The last century. The National League was playing ball in the late 1800’s (the American League began in the early 1900’s). In all of those tens of thousands of games played, there have been only 18 perfect games. It is among the rarest of all baseball feats.
Baseball is a game of statistics. It is a game of superstitions. One such superstition is that you don’t talk to a pitcher while he
is in the midst of a no hitter. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Buehrle’s effort is that he was loose and chatty on the bench the entire game. He did not avoid teammates, and they did not avoid him. To be sure, Buehrle is no stranger to the no hitter, having thrown one in 2007. He also is no stranger to pressure, having helped the White Sox to a World Series victory in 2005. But the calm he displayed was amazing. He was feeling it in the ninth inning to be sure, he was over throwing his fast ball, but he was able to compose himself when he needed to. And he got help when he needed it. After retiring the first 24 batters he faced, the crowd on the South side of Chicago was going crazy when Buehrle took the mound in the ninth. The first batter he faced was Gabe Kapler. Kapler is an 11 year vet, a lifetime .270 hitter with over 70 home runs to his credit. He is a batter capable of going yard on you. And with one swing of the bat, it looked like that was exactly what he had done. He hit a drive to deep left center field. Defensive replacement Dewayne Wise had been inserted into center field, and he turned and sprinted towards the ball and the outfield wall. He jumped into the air and reached above the 8 foot fence, grabbing the ball in his mitt and bringing it back into the field of play. But he stumbled as he hit the ground, and the ball popped out of his glove. As he was falling to the ground, Wise managed to grasp the ball in his open hand, stick it and the ball into the glove, roll on the ground, and spring up, producing the ball! Wise had robbed Kapler of a home run. He had saved the shut out, no hitter and perfect game. Buehrle retired the last 2 batters and the perfect game was his.
In an interesting twist of fate, the home plate umpire was Eric Cooper, the same umpire who called the balls and strikes during Buehrle’s no hitter in 2007. Just one of the quirky things that will become part of the lore of the Buehrle perfect game.