Thursday, July 23, 2009


Mark Buehrle made history earlier today on the Southside by throwing the 18th perfect game in the history of the major leagues. Since that time, I have had a number of people extend their condolences to me because they figure I must be pretty upset with the success of the White Sox ace.

I hate to disappoint the White Sox haters, but I was rooting for Buehrle in the 9th inning. I still can't believe that DeWayne Wise preserved the no-hitter and the shutout by robbing Gabe Kapler of a homerun with a leaping, juggling catch against the left-centerfield wall. Though, to be honest, I bet Reed Johnson would have caught it without the bobble.

The moment was stunning and the achievement of retiring 27 straight batters without a blemish is too great to have it be ruined by the fact that Buehrle is a member of the White Sox.

While this fact would be lost on most White Sox fans, who actually derive more joy from Cubs losses than their own team winning, there was a surprising number of Cub fans on Twitter who joined me in my support of Buehrle's great performance.

I did, however, start to wonder what my reaction would be to seeing someone throw a perfect game against the Cubs. What if it happened at Wrigley while I am sitting in Aisle 424?

I think I can say unequivocally that I would be upset if I had to witness the Cubs getting owned by Buehrle while the inevitable White Sox fans in the park cheered, danced, and partied away at my team's expense. That really would be too much. It would be much the same thing if a Cardinals or Brewers pitcher managed to accomplish the feat at Wrigley. The proximity to fans who would rather rub my nose in the loss than enjoy the occasion would ruin the magnitude of the situation for me.

But what if I got to witness a perfect game by someone on a team I usually could care less about? What if Johan Santana comes into Wrigley and sets down 27 straight Cubs, which isn't exactly out of the realm of possibility?

In 2003, I had a chance to see Roger Clemens win his 300th game at Wrigley as a member of the Yankees. At that time there were twenty 300 game winners, so the event was almost as rare as throwing a perfect game. I can say wholeheartedly that I did NOT want him to reach that milestone in my ballpark. I was quite happy when Eric Karros ripped a three-run homerun off of Juan Acevedo to thwart Clemens.

In 2007, the Cubs failed to prevent Tom Glavine from winning his 300th game at Wrigley. Once it became evident that the Cubs would not win the game, the consolation of seeing Glavine's achievement was better than just seeing a plain old Cubs loss.

I still don't know how I would have felt if Clemens had managed to win his 300th at Wrigley. I never liked Clemens, so I doubt it would have been much consolation to see history. I think I might have been a bit resentful. On the flipside, I always liked and respected Glavine, so maybe that is why I was able to appreciate the moment when it occurred, despite the loss for my team.

I like to think I would have reacted well to seeing Sandy Koufax's perfect game against the Cubs (the last time the Cubs were no-hit) in 1965. But maybe not. The frustration of not even being able to manage one stupid hit or walk might piss me off quite a bit. It's hard to say until it happens.

Buehrle's achievement definitely gave me something to think about though. Luckily, it happened against the Rays and I can extend an honest congratulations from myself and on behalf of the Jeff Baker Fan Club. Well done, sir.


Arnold said...

You're a true fan of the game my friend. 

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