Almost Perfect

by Steve

Don’t worry folks. I’ll soon get tired of posting about the new baseball season. But until then…

Last night Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish fell one out short of pitching a perfect game. Now, for those not familiar with such things, a perfect game is where a pitcher manages to pitch an entire game without any of his opponents even reaching base. This has only happened on 21 occasions since 1900. Bear in mind there are well over 2,000 Major League games a year, and you can see how special and how rare such an event is.

Missing a perfect game at the final out isn’t unique, however. My unreliable Wiki-research suggests it was the eleventh occasion this has happened. Small comfort for Darvish and the Rangers, but at least it wasn’t down to a bad call for the potential last out of the game – as was the case for Armando Galarraga in 2010.

It sounds like Darvish was pretty philosophical about missing out on the feat. The win was a win. Considering how dominant he was, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that he comes close again this season. Considering how bad the Rangers’ opponents the Astros are, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they will be on the wrong end of a perfect game attempt again this season too.

Perfect games, or even thwarted attempts at perfect games, are obviously fantastic because they are such a rare occurence and are such an achievement for a pitcher. They make it painfullly clear how difficult pitching is, if the chances of getting everyone out without anyone reaching base is so unlikely.

Perfect game attempts also mean that every game, every day, no  matter how inconsequential, could potentially end up as a major event to be remembered for generations. Every game has the potential to matter, to feel historic. Every pitcher, not just the big stars, can achieve the almost-unthinkable on any given day.

Many amazing pitchers have never come close. Yu Darvish got so close.