A Night Fit for a King

The other night at Minute Maid Park I witnessed a milestone take place as Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, also known as King Felix, recorded his 100th career victory en route to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Of course there will be those who say that any milestone that occurs against the Astros for the foreseeable future should carry an asterisk by it based on the level of competition being put on the field by the Astros in relation to the skill level of other teams. I do not share that view however as the game of baseball has shown time and time again that anything can happen once the cute little kid stares into the camera and screams “play ball.”

Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners recorded his 100th career victory Monday at Minute Maid Park. Photo R. Anderson
Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners recorded his 100th career victory Monday at Minute Maid Park.
Photo R. Anderson

So, milestones both good and bad that occur against the Astros should carry no special stigma to them and in every way should count in both personal and overall team statistics. And as we all know baseball is certainly a game that likes its statistics.

So let us talk statistics for a moment and look at just how big of an accomplishment King Felix’s feat is.

To put it into perspective there are only 31 active pitchers with at least 100 career wins. Consider that each of the 30 teams carries five starting pitchers on average and that basically means that only one out of every five pitchers in the Major Leagues has at least 100 wins. Andy Pettitte is the current active leader with 248 wins. The all-time wins leader is Cy Young with 511 wins.

In a sport where injuries can sideline even the most promising of pitchers it is truly a feat worth celebrating when a pitcher has the longevity to reach the century mark in victories.

Baseball is best when played under the stars, unless it is 100 degrees out at which point a retractable roof is a must have. Photo R. Anderson
Baseball is best when played under the stars, unless it is 100 degrees out at which point a retractable roof is a must have.
Photo R. Anderson

I would love to say that I had the foresight well in advance of the potential historic night to ensure that I was in the ballpark to witness it but my presence at the ballpark was definitely the result of a series of random events that were not at all under my control.

The first factor that allowed me to be in the stadium to witness win 100 was of course the fact that Felix Hernandez’s spot in the pitching order just happened to coincide with the first game in Houston.

It also didn’t hurt that he had lost a couple of starts earlier in the season to have him holding steady at 99 wins when he arrived in Houston.

Another factor of chance and coincidence that fell into play to allow me to attend the game was a free ticket promotion kicked off by the Astros as a way to a) fill the stadium on a Monday night and b) try to save face during a public relations nightmare related to their new cable network and the fact that only 40 percent of their television territory can watch the games.

Jose Altuve swung the bat well but he and the rest of the Astros couldn't solve King Felix as he fanned nine batters. Photo R. Anderson
Jose Altuve swung the bat well but he and the rest of the Astros couldn’t solve King Felix as he fanned nine batters.
Photo R. Anderson

With game day upon me I glanced at the pre-game notes as I always do when attending a game and that was where the pieces fell into place and I realized that not only was I going to see a really good pitcher but it was on a night that had the potential to be big.

In my various years of watching baseball I had never really gotten to see any of the “elite” pitchers in the game during their prime. One of my biggest regrets was never getting to see Roger Clemens pitch in his prime.

While the opinions are split down the middle on the Rocket today, few can argue that in his prime he was a force to be reckoned with and his seven Cy Young Awards can certainly give weight to the argument that he was one of the best.

In addition to Roger Clemens, I would have also liked to have seen Nolan Ryan pitch in person but that was not in the cards for me either.

So getting to see Felix Hernandez pitch, after he threw a perfect game last season, was my first chance to see one of the “elite” pitchers up close and personal.

I will admit that as I took my seat for the game thoughts of witnessing a no hitter or even a perfect game were going through my head.

Of course, the no hitter and perfect game bids were quickly extinguished as Astro catcher Jason Castro hit a two out double in the bottom of the first inning.

Baserunners for the Astros were few and far between as Felix Hernandez showed great control on the mound. Photo R. Anderson
Baserunners for the Astros were few and far between as Felix Hernandez showed great control on the mound.
Photo R. Anderson

So while my quest to witness a no hitter or perfect game will continue I can say that I was there for the 100th win of Felix Hernandez’s career.

He could go on to have 200 more wins or he could never notch another win in his career. That is one of the great equalizers in the game.

No one knows when the “elite” will fall back to earth either through injury or a variety of other means where that magic ability to make the ball dance across the plate and avoid contact with bats suddenly goes away and a pitcher once thought unhittable starts looking like a batting practice pitcher with players lined up to take them deep.

To see an example of an ace brought down to earth one need only look at the case of Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants. His fall from the ranks of staff ace to average looking pitcher has been painful to watch but definitely shows that no one is immune to “losing their stuff.”

Next up on my “elite” pitcher bucket list is Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers will be in town in early May and there is little doubt that if Verlander is one of the pitchers scheduled during the three-game series I will once again be front and center to scratch another “elite” pitcher off of my bucket list.

Now if you’ll excuse me all of this talk about royalty and kings has me tasting a Whopper for some reason.

Copyright 2013 R Anderson

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The Stands are Alive with the Sound of Music

Odds are if you have spent any amount of time in a Major League Baseball Ballpark you have been exposed to “Stadium Rock” of one form or another.

From the live organ playing during the golden age of baseball, to the clap, clap stomp of “We will rock you” fans have been exposed to music that helps paint the atmosphere and heighten the fan experience for almost as long as there has been a fan experience.

While music is used throughout the game, perhaps no other time allows the music to shine quite like the middle of the seventh inning.

No matter the ballpark, or level of competition, fans know that once the middle of the seventh inning rolls around fans will be on their feet and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Also, if the game is being played on a Sunday most Ballparks will feature the playing of “God Bless America” in the eighth inning as well.

The Boston Red Sox invaded Minute Maid Park for a three-game series back in 2011 and the visiting fans were treated to a little Neil Diamond music to feel right at home. Photo R. Anderson
The Boston Red Sox invaded Minute Maid Park for a three-game series back in 2011 and the visiting fans were treated to a little Neil Diamond music to feel right at home.
Photo R. Anderson

While some seventh and eighth inning songs are universal, there are some local varieties that while known in the home ballparks may not be as well known to the wider audience.

One such local tradition recently gained a wider audience following the Boston Marathon attack when teams across the country played a certain bit of Boston Red Sox tradition in their own stadiums as a show of support and solidarity. The New York Yankees, bitter division rival of the Red Sox, were the first team to offer a melodic show of solidarity for the people of Boston and many other teams soon followed.

This bit of Fenway flavor that went wicked viral was of course the Neil Diamond classic, “Sweet Caroline” which has been a ballpark staple for the Red Sox Nation for years.

While I will admit to occasionally rocking out to Neil Diamond in the privacy of the Triple B Gigaplex (I mean seriously, who hasn’t?), I can honestly say that the idea of rocking out to his songs in a ballpark never occurred to me until I attended a Houston Astros game a few years back when they were hosting the Red Sox.

I can’t remember at which point in the game the song rolled out but I remember thinking it was odd that the song was being played during a baseball game.

My confusion was soon answered when I overheard a Sox fan behind me explaining that it was a Fenway tradition. Based on the reaction from the people with the letter B on their heads they thought that it was cool that they were playing it in Texas. Despite the explanation I still found it odd that the visiting team’s rally song was being played by the Astros.

Rangers fans at the Ballpark in Arlington welcome the seventh inning with the arrival of Cotton-Eyed Joe. Photo R. Anderson
Rangers fans at the Ballpark in Arlington welcome the seventh inning with the arrival of Cotton-Eyed Joe.
Photo R. Anderson

To be clear, I think that the current show of support by other teams playing the song is perfectly acceptable as long as it is done for a finite length of time.

What is not acceptable is if the song continues to be played for the foreseeable future every time the Red Sox are in town. Even the most heartfelt of tributes can overstay its welcome.

I mean, nothing against Neil Diamond, but “Sweet Caroline” does not belong in other ballparks regardless of how sing along worthy it is. Like Bill Murray said in the cinematic classic “What About Bob?”, there are two types of people in this world, those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t.

Another reason why the spread of “Sweet Caroline” needs to be nipped in the bud is that many teams already have traditional songs of their own that are worth preserving.

In Houston the stars really are big and bright as the seventh inning stretch includes the state pride evoking staple “Deep in the Heart of Texas” following “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The song even travels with the team to Florida for Spring Training.

Although, standing and clapping along to “Deep in the Heart of Texas” while deep in the heart of Florida does tend to mess with one’s head.

For over 30 years the Oriole Bird has been thankful to be a country boy, err bird and has been dugout dancing during the seventh inning with one lucky fan. Photo R. Anderson
For over 30 years the Oriole Bird has been thankful to be a country boy, err bird and has been dugout dancing during the seventh inning with one lucky fan.
Photo R. Anderson

For over 30 years the Baltimore Orioles’ seventh inning stretch has included John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” complete with a top of the dugout dance between the Oriole mascot and one lucky fan. And this tradition also travels to the Spring Training Stadium in Sarasota.

And although Texas is a large state, apparently only one team can be deep in the heart of it as the Texas Rangers, who were the second team to come to Texas, have “Cotton-Eyed Joe” as their seventh inning stretch song.

The list goes on and on regarding teams and their signature songs in the ballpark. From the Cincinnati Reds encouraging fans to “Twist and Shout” along with the Beatles, to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim playing “Build Me up Buttercup,” each team has put their own unique stamp on the seventh inning.

Perhaps the oddest seventh inning stretch song I found in my research was the choice of the Washington Nationals. Starting in the 2012 season, the Nationals embraced the A-ha classic “Take on Me” as their seventh inning jam.

For those old enough to remember when MTV played music videos, “Take on Me” was the really trippy video that was half newspaper comic and half real life.

At the time it was released it represented the cutting edge of video technology but I am sure it shows a little bit of its age when viewed now. Of course, it is out on You Tube if one really wants to get their A-ha on.

So there you have it, a selection of songs to listen for as you travel the Major League Baseball stadium trail for both the Neil Diamond lover and the Neil Diamond hater.

Now if you’ll excuse I think it is time to fill the Triple B Gigaplex with some tunes. Where did I put that Neil Diamond CD?

Copyright 2013 R Anderson

Impacts of a Brave First Step Still Being Felt

We are a country that enjoys commemorating achievements in all shapes and sizes. Some call it the American spirit while others might call it an attempt to ensure that the sacrifices of those that have gone before us are remembered long after they are no longer walking amongst us.

This past Monday was set aside by Major League Baseball to pay homage to an achievement of courage and determination as part of the annual Jackie Robinson Day.

Each year on April 15 Major League Baseball teams stop to remember Jackie Robinson. Photo R. Anderson
Each year on April 15 Major League Baseball teams stop to remember Jackie Robinson.
Photo R. Anderson

On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first African American to step foot on a Major League Baseball field when he suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The world of baseball for Jackie Robinson, and many other players like him, was far different from the world of baseball today.

I am not referring to jumbo trons and jumbo hot dogs or any of the other things that have found their way into the modern game. I am not even talking about the designated hitter.

Prior to 1947 there were no minority players in the highest level of professional baseball. It took an owner willing to do what others wouldn’t in Branch Rickey and a player willing to withstand insults from on the field and in the stands in Jackie Robinson to pave the way for those that came behind them.

For people of a certain age, like me, it is nearly impossible to picture a segregated baseball diamond. From my earliest recollections there were people of all shapes and sizes and races on the field.

Jackie Robinson Day at Minute Maid Park.  Photo R. Anderson
Jackie Robinson Day at Minute Maid Park.
Photo R. Anderson

Look at the rosters of the 30 MLB teams today and one will find players from six continents.

None of that would have been possible without someone taking the first step to desegregate the diamond.

So it is fitting to take time to honor Jackie Robinson’s sacrifice and to ensure that generations who were not alive back in 1947 can learn the story and know that without the sacrifices of people like Jackie Robinson the world would be an entirely different place.

One of my favorite quotes is “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It was first stated in the early 20th century by George Santayana, but the phrase is still as true today as it was when first spoken. Society must continue to learn from history so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros celebrates Jackie Robinson Day in 2011. Photo R. Anderson
Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros celebrates Jackie Robinson Day in 2011.
Photo R. Anderson

As another outlet to learn from the mistakes of the past this week also marks the release of the movie 42 which provides a big screen treatment of the momentous event and allows generations who were not alive in Jackie Robinson’s time to see what it was like.

As part of Jackie Robinson Day each player on every team wears the number 42 as a show of respect and solidarity. Of course one player still wears the number 42 every game but more on that in a bit.

While each team celebrated the moment in their own way the main celebration occurred in Los Angeles, CA where Jackie’s widow was in attendance at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

During the annual celebration of Jackie Robinson there are always a select few who will state in various outlets that the inclusion of Jackie Robinson in the Baseball Hall of Fame was based solely on him being first to break the color barrier and is not reflective of his playing ability.

Of course, a quick look at his career statistics show that based on the merits of his play alone Jackie Robinson is every bit of a Hall of Fame caliber player and is included as much for what he did as a player as well as what he did as a trailblazer.

In 1997 all 30 MLB teams were told to retire the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Photo R. Anderson
In 1997 all 30 MLB teams were told to retire the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
Photo R. Anderson

In 1997 Major League Baseball retired the number 42 on all teams in honor of Jackie Robinson. As part of the retirement players who were still wearing the number were grandfathered in and allowed to keep wearing it for the remainder of their careers.

Currently Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees is the only active player still wearing the number 42. Rivera is expected to retire at the end of this season so the number 42 will be officially retired 15 years after the announcement to retire it was made.

This means that starting in 2014, no player will ever again wear the number 42 in Major League Baseball. It is likely that the Yankees will retire Rivera’s number as well based on his impressive body of work. That will lead to the hanging of two 42 banners in Yankee Stadium with one for Robinson and one for Rivera. Then again the Yankees always did like to be a little different.

Of course this years celebration of Jackie Robinson Day was marred by the cowardly act of the Boston Marathon bomber.

At the time of the bombing only one MLB game had been completed with the Boston Red Sox and the visiting Tampa Bay Rays wrapping things up shortly before the first bomb was detonated.

The remaining MLB games Monday featured moments of silence for the victims of the attack. Acts like the bombing of innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon show that the world is still as full of hate today as it was on that April day in 1947.

But just as was the case in 1947, there are still people willing to rise above the hatred and do what is right. And that is something worth remembering every day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to catch a screening of 42, perhaps I will see you there.

Copyright 2013 R Anderson

Wahoo Wishes and Other Notes From Beside the Bay

This past weekend I took my first baseball road trip of the 2013 season to book end the opening week of the baseball season.

After starting the week at the home opener for the Houston Astros, the week was rounded out with a trip to Bayfront Stadium in Pensacola, FL for a Southern League game between the home standing Blue Wahoos and the visiting Tennessee Smokies.

Prior to moving to Texas, the bulk of my non Spring Training in person baseball watching was through Southern League games at Tinker Field in Orlando FL.

Despite moving about 800 miles away from the borders of the Southern League, to this day I still try to catch Southern League games whenever I can.

It was clear skies at game time but as the flags indicate there was a stiff wind blowing. Photo R. Anderson
It was clear skies at game time but as the flags indicate there was a stiff wind blowing.
Photo R. Anderson

I am sure this is partially due to history and familiarity with the league and the various teams but a lot of it is also based on the fact that there is some good baseball being played on the farm teams of the Southern League.

Such was the case on this colder than normal April night at the stadium on the bay.

More on the game in a bit but I feel it is important to stop and mention the weather at game time and throughout the festivities.

Anyone who knows me well, most likely knows the following two things about me. First, I check the weather constantly before a trip to make sure that I am properly prepared for the conditions.

Second, it takes in awful lot for me to be cold. I am the type who has a fan going year round and I have not turned the heater on in my house in over 8 years.

More ballparks should be waterfront ballparks to allow for scenery like this. Photo R. Anderson
More ballparks should be waterfront ballparks to allow for scenery like this.
Photo R. Anderson

So after checking the forecast before heading to the game, I was fairly satisfied with my no jacket required assessment. Unfortunately while the temperature was within a good short sleeve window, in my haste to make it to the game after a nine-hour drive to the ballpark I forgot to account for the wind chill and feels like factor.

To say it was cold with the wind coming in off the bay would be an understatement. How cold did it feel?

It felt cold enough that I was seriously considering buying a $100 jacket in the gift shop or at the very least a $60 sweatshirt to try to stay warm. How a jacket and sweatshirt can cost that much is certainly another story for another day.

At least I was not alone in my frigid feelings. Apparently the guy sitting to my right had also made the same error in judgment as we were the only two people in the ballpark wearing short sleeves.

As the innings wore on we became very close as we tried to block the wind and stay warm. Not a word was spoken but a knowing nod was all that was required to show that the contest was one to see who could last the longest.

He ended up leaving in the bottom of the sixth inning which meant I just had to make it to the seventh inning stretch to get the victory in the two cold guys challenge. Yes, boys and girls this is what men do, we turn everything into a contest.

So I made it an extra half inning and then packed up my bobble head, souvenir cup and other assorted stadium items and walked the 10 blocks back to the car.

Although the game was a very lopsided affair and included a Man versus Wild like survival challenge in the stands, there were several items of note that occurred.

It was Billy Hamilton bobble head giveaway night. For those who are unfamiliar with Billy Hamilton he set the single season stolen base record with 146 last season.

Billy Hamilton stole a record number of bases last season and became immortalized as a bobble head this season.  Photo R. Anderson
Billy Hamilton stole a record number of bases last season and became immortalized as a bobble head this season.
Photo R. Anderson

I met Billy last season when he was about four steals away from the record and although he has moved on to the Triple-A affiliate of the Reds it was nice to be there for the bobble head night and close the circle as it were.

I have little doubt that after one more season of seasoning in the Minors Billy Hamilton will make the Reds roster and show his speed in front of the larger audience.

I have always enjoyed the art of the stolen base. Major League Baseball’s all-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson was always a favorite players of mine. When everyone in the stands knows that you are going to try to steal the base and you still manage to do it, that is some serious talent and is something to be respected.

Billy Hamilton has a very good chance to be a Rickey Henderson like player and set the base paths on fire. And when he does, I will be one of the people who gets to say I knew him when.

While Billy Hamilton was not in attendance for his bobble head night there was another player who was certainly worth paying attention to.

At 7'1", Ludovicus Jacobus Maria Van Mil of the Blue Wahoos is the tallest pitcher in baseball. Photo R. Anderson
At 7’1″, Ludovicus Jacobus Maria Van Mil of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos is the tallest pitcher in baseball.
Photo R. Anderson

Ludovicus Jacobus Maria Van Mil, or the more sportswriter friendly Loek Van Mil, is the tallest pitcher in Professional Baseball topping out at 7’1”.

During his warm-up pitches it became very clear that he was a very tall man. Van Mil is currently being targeted as a relief pitcher but time will tell whether he can find the right balance between control and velocity to make it to the Big Leagues.

As with my previous visit to the ballpark there was a lot of opportunity to people watch. Being seated directly behind the all you can eat party deck provided ample amounts of entertainment. One fun game was the how many trips through the hot dog and hamburger line will particular people make game. Of course the rush of steam when the hot dog tray was opened provided a little bit of warmth for me as well so I was certainly counting on people making as many trips as possible.

While the party deck in front of me provided countless amounts of amusement when the action on the field became lopsided, the row of people behind me was very annoying. I am a huge believer in free speech so in no way am I suggesting that people shouldn’t be allowed to talk in a ballpark. I am saying that a row of people should not talk so loud that everyone in the section can hear every little detail about them.

But despite a losing effort by the home team, cold temperatures and certain annoying fans my first road trip of the 2013 baseball season was certainly enjoyable. I came, I cheered, I left and I have the bobble head to prove it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think it is time to plan another road trip.

Copyright 2013 R Anderson

To Cheer, or Not to Cheer? That is the Question

Earlier this week Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers came within one out of becoming the 24th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a perfect game occurs when a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a minimum of nine innings in which no opposing player reaches base safely for any reason including hits, walks, hit by pitch, etc. In short, the pitcher has to be “perfect” on the mound.

Despite falling short in the bid to retire 27 Houston Astros batters in a row, the Rangers ended up winning 7-0 and Yu took his denial of immortality in stride.

Current Astros Bullpen Coach Dennis Martinez threw a Perfect Game on July 28, 1991. Martinez was rooting for Yu Darish to join the fraternity as well.
Current Astros Bullpen Coach Dennis Martinez threw a Perfect Game on July 28, 1991. Martinez was rooting for Yu Darvish to join the fraternity as well.

The game brought up many interesting questions. Chief among the debates that have occurred is the issue of whether is it okay to cheer against your team when one is witnessing potential history in the making.

With the Astros down by seven runs in the late innings few could argue that the odds of an epic winning rally occurring, while conceivably possible, were likely.

So the argument in one camp would say that with victory of your team out of the realm of possibility it is okay to cheer for the guy that is mowing down the batters one after another.

I was not at the stadium Monday night but I was watching along at home. I will admit I had the game on as background noise at first but as the innings were winding down I found myself glued to the couch watching and hoping that I was about to see history occur.

David Wells threw his Perfect Game on May 17, 1998.
David Wells threw his Perfect Game on May 17, 1998.

I am of the opinion that when it comes to the ninth inning you root for the pitcher trying to throw the perfect game regardless of whether or not it is your team that is on the losing end.

The Tampa Bay Rays have had three perfect games thrown against them since 2009. Does that mean that the Rays are a bad team? Far from it as their recent string of playoff appearances would attest to.

If anything one could argue that being at the receiving end of no hitters further fuels the fire of the team. And last time I checked there aren’t any teams that win all 162 games so whether you lose in a no hitter, perfect game or any other fashion doesn’t really matter in the final win-loss column in my opinion.

I know that there are people who will disagree with me. They will say, “But Ryan how could you ever root for someone to beat your team. Doesn’t that make you a fair weather fan?”

To that I say that there are moments in the course of baseball events when the time to rise up and support the singular performance temporarily outweighs one’s allegiance to a team.

Randy "Big Unit" Johnson threw his Perfect Game on May 18, 2004.
Randy “Big Unit” Johnson threw his Perfect Game on May 18, 2004.

In fact, after the game the Astros Bullpen Coach, Dennis Martinez, himself a perfect game throwing pitcher, admitted that he was rooting for Yu to get the perfect game and join that elite club of perfect game throwing pitchers.

So, if a coach on the team on the receiving end of the perfect game can see the history in the making aspect why wouldn’t it be okay for the fans to get caught up in the moment as well?

Think about it, in the entire history of Major League Baseball only 23 players have ever thrown a perfect game. There is so much that has to go right over the course of 27 at bats and nine innings for that to happen.

While much attention is focused on the need for the battery of pitcher and catcher to work in harmony during a bid for a perfect game all nine players on the field have to be working in perfect harmony to make a perfect game occur.

Aside from the fans wanting to see the perfect game occur there is another group of people that was affected by the game not ending in a historic manner. That group is the media that was covering the game.

Current Texas Rangers executive and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan threw 7 no hitters during his career. Nolan Ryan did not however pitch a perfect game showing just how rare of an achievement they are.
Current Texas Rangers executive and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan threw 7 no hitters during his career. Nolan Ryan did not however pitch a perfect game showing just how rare of an achievement they are.

Back when I covered games on deadline I, like many other reporters, would try to get a head start on my articles before heading back to the newsroom to file them.

Despite the availability of laptops and internet connections that allowed people to file stories directly from the press box, I never had that option during my career as I always had to go back to the newsroom to write my stories and put the pages together for the next day’s paper.

So, during the game I would try to gain every time advantage I could when constructing the article. While entirely boring for half of the fans in attendance blowouts and total one sided games were definitely fun to cover from a reporter’s point of view since that gave ample time to get a head start on the article since the outcome was very much clear early on.

Nail-biting games where the lead changed hands several times were good for the fans but definitely hard for the reporters trying to get an early start on the story.

On Monday night when it appeared that the perfect game was going to happen I am sure that there were certain media members who had already written leads along the lines of “Yu can do it”, etc. I lost track of the numerous bad puns I read afterwards involving Yu’s name in headlines.

There were probably even some reporters who had a nice 140 character tweet all set to send out when the final out was made.

As an aside, let me just say that I am so glad that the bulk of my career, or at least the formative years, did not occur during the age of Twitter. I have nothing against Twitter when it is used properly to send out an important bit of data. But, having to send out constant updates during the course of a game is a certain side of multitasking that I can do without.

So when the perfect game bid fell apart those preemptive tweets were erased and leads were rewritten as the reporters than tried to track down the player who foiled the game by getting the lone hit of the night.

So while the bid for perfection fell short for Yu Darvish this week as he became the 12th player to lose a perfect game on the 27th batter he faced, I am confident that he will have other chances to flirt with baseball immortality. And when he does, or when any other player does for that matter, just remember that regardless of whether the color of their jersey matches yours, it is okay to cheer for the good of baseball.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have a baseball road trip to get to.

Copyright 2013 R Anderson