This is part one or two in a two-part installment. You should be able to figure it out at this point. In a quick fertility-related note, Kevin Costner just had his seventh kid Thursday. That’s a lot of freaking kids… And we’re off!
Speaking of Kevin Costner, I’m pretty sure he once played a Detroit Tiger who pitched a perfect game. I say “pretty sure” because not in a million years would I be caught dead watching a post-1996 Kevin Costner movie. What do you take me for, a tasteless chick? Anyway, this irrelevant intro is all a roundabout way of getting to current Tigers perfectionist Armando Galarraga, who – just days after I wrote a long spiel about why we’re seeing this rash of perfect games – actually threw another perfect game. Unbelievable. Mark Buerhle in July. Dallas Braden on May 9. Roy Halladay on Saturday. Galarraga on Wednesday. Four in less than a year. Incred…
No freaking way.
You know by now that Galarraga didn’t get that hallowed 27th out – that first base umpire Jim Joyce blew the biggest call of both men’s lives. You feel sick. So do I. Galarraga wrote his own storied chapter in baseball’s eternal record book… And Joyce reduced it to a footnote. Oops.
Galarraga’s initial reaction is the part that makes your heart sink. He found the base with his right leg, squeezed the ball, turned to Joyce and burst into an ear-to-ear grin. Perfect… The subsequent look was one of “I’ve just been kicked in the stomach and Punked at the same time.”
I, too, was half expecting an Ashton Kutcher cameo on “Baseball Tonight.” Didn’t happen.
What did happen was both completely unexpected and perhaps the best sports story of the young decade. Turns out Jim Joyce is a special kind of guy. “I cost the kid a perfect game,” he confessed afterward during an effusive apology.
Galaragga responded in kind. “Joyce feels really bad… I know nobody’s perfect.” How’s that for a quote? I have chills. But there’s more.
On Thursday, manager Jim Leyland chose his near-perfect pitcher to deliver the lineup card to home plate. Jim Joyce wept. He wiped tears from his burly face and man’s man ‘stache. Then he slugged Galaragga on the back of the shoulder as the shaken pitcher turned toward the dugout.
Not to get all sappy on you, but this is exactly why I love sports so much. It’s not all about dumb jocks and overpaid college dropouts. It’s about people, some like you and me, who occasionally do things that just don’t happen in other walks of life. Maybe it’s just the magnifying glass of professional sports – ordinary acts of valor blown up on a monster pop culture scale. But I don’t think so. I don’t think you’ll ever see anything like Wednesday again.
Speaking of things you’ll never see again… Ken Griffey, Jr. He was always my favorite non-Brave. I had his shoes. I imitated his upright stance. I bought his cards. I checked Seattle’s box scores every morning. I feel about him the way Bryan Holt and Kyle Rancourt do. You’ll never see a more perfect swing or a more perfect smile.
In lighter baseball talk, Bryan’s been running his mouth about the fast-approaching Tampa Bay-Atlanta interleague series. As they say, pride comes before Heyward goes all Hammerin’ Hank on your ass. Bring it, Holt.
And on that 14-and-2-since-May-17 note… let’s do this.
Last Friday, the Oakland Raiders sued JaMarcus Russell in an attempt to take back some of the $39 million they guaranteed him. You know, the last time Al Davis put this much money into a black hole, at least he got a stadium out of it.
As mentioned, Phillies ace Roy Halladay on Saturday pitched this season’s second perfect game in front of a South Florida crowd of 25,000 strong… or roughly 22,000 more than attend regular Marlins games. Days later, Marlins management sold the unused game tickets to fans of revisionist history.
I was there. I swear.
A 1-0 Phillies victory, the game was actually the fourth game in five nights in which the vaunted Philadelphia offense did not score an earned run, which, if you think about it, is kind of like Lindsay Lohan going four out of five nights without falling down the stairs.
On Sunday, the Angels’ Kendry Morales broke his leg while celebrating a walk-off grand slam at the plate with teammates. After the game, a dejected Mike Scioscia phoned noted celebration specialist Gus Ferotte for advice on how to avoid this kind of thing going forward.
Bad move, Mike.
On Sunday, Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500, or as it’s known to casual sports fans, “the four-hour Go Daddy ad.” Once again, the sponsor disappointed many by not showing any nudity in its much promoted “unrated” web content. That it did show clips of Danica almost winning just made matters worse.
Rashad Evans defeated Quentin “Rampage” Jackson at the UFC 114 main event with a series of technical holds, a few big shots to the chin, and a merciless barrage of B. A. Baracus jokes and Mr. T comparisons. This is Jackson’s eighth defeat, ninth if you count the “A-Team” remake.
Nationals management finally decided Monday that phenom Stephen Strasburg, who finished 6-1 with a 1 ERA in seven triple-A starts, will make his Major League debut June 8. Though tickets have already sold out, it’s still unclear if the Pirates will actually show up.
After the Celtics closed out the Magic in game 6 in Boston, film crews caught Glenn “Big Baby” Davis dancing next to a ball rack with three Celtics cheerleaders… Doing the math… So that makes five racks in one shot. Nice work, ESPN.
On Tuesday, LeBron James told Larry King that the Cavaliers have “an edge” to sign him. I think that’s a poor choice of words… Cleveland fans have no business being around sharp objects right now.
In non sequitur news…
Phil Mickelson still letting his wife dress him.
On Sunday, the Duke men’s lacrosse team won the national championship with a thrilling overtime victory over rival Notre Dame. Team lawyers advised against an after-party.
Though Al and Tipper Gore announced their split on Monday, we’ve yet to learn when Al told Tipper the inconvenient truth.
Admit it. When asked in 1999 which White House marriage was ending first, your answer wasn’t “the Gores.”
If you wear a hat, turn it backwards this weekend. For Junior.