Perfect Shame: Please Stop While You’re Ahead
By Rudickulous aka David Rudick
This season has already shown some impressive and promising talents when it comes to pitching in the MLB. Both Annibal Sanchez and Yu Darvish came so amazingly close at achieving greatness, and while Sanchez’s game would have been a no hitter, it is still an admirable feat that only a select few have achieved. And yet after watching these two players collapse at the last second, I feel disgusted. There is a feeling in the back of my head that is filling with rage and sickness, a chilling feeling that is hard to describe. The weird thing is that it has nothing to do with the actual games itself, but rather the personalities announcing it.
Maybe it’s just me, but events like throwing a perfect game or no-hitter used to be sacred within the sport. In some aspects, they still are. If the pitcher is near the end of the game and still has history in the balance, you will see the entire team clear away from whatever side of the bench the pitcher is sitting on. The Players respect it, the fans respect it, nearly everybody in the ballpark is aware of what is going on and the protocol behind it. Now if you’re a fan of the T.V. show Scrubs, you know the infamous episode I am about to reference. In the show, there is an episode where Dr. Cox has all of his ICU patients still alive for nearly 24 hours. He tells the team of doctors to be ready because they all know what kind of situation they have going on there. This is when the mistake is made; Dr. Elliot Reed asks the question, “What kind of opportunity do we have h…” only to be cut off by doctors. J.D., the protagonist, tries to describe the situation using baseball logic. When questioning what baseball has to do with this situation, Dr. Cox angrily interrupts her, stating the obvious. I use this reference as I think it can connect all of my frustrations to those who don’t realize the golden rule of baseball.
“You should never, EVER, jinx a pitcher when he has a chance to throw a perfect game!”
Let that last sentence sit for a minute. I emphasis this quote because it seems like the media has simply forgotten about this golden rule. Perhaps they have ignored it altogether. Whatever the reason, it has to stop and stop immediately. Allow me to go back and talk about some examples. Referring to the Yu Darvish perfect game opportunity, I almost immediately removed the ESPN app from my phone. Why do you ask? Because for the entire duration of the game, from the 5th inning on, the app kept giving me constant updates about how Yu Darvish was on his way to get a perfect game. I have two problems with this situation. First off, the fifth inning is simply way too soon for that kind of update. When he goes through the lineup twice without giving up a hit, then I can be informed, somewhere around the 7th inning seems about right. But this also leads me to problem number two, the update texts itself. I can not emphasize this enough, PLEASE DO NOT mention the words NO HITTER or PERFECT GAME in any of the texts alerts. It’s that simple. Now, it is alright to send an update that would read, “Bottom of the 7th, Rangers vs. Cardinals, potential moment in the process,” because it let’s me know the basics. It tells me what game it is exactly, how late in the contest it is, and that it’s a very big event. Sports fans would immediately turn on the game or check ESPN to see stats and witness history all without the possible jinx. On the borderline, but if you wanted to mention the pitcher’s name, I would allow it.
What really angered me is the next example though, as I have lost ALL respect for MLB TV. While watching MLB Tonight, hosts Greg Amsinger, Sean Casey, and (possibly) Dan Plesac discussed the Los Angeles Angles vs Los Angeles Dodgers game. This game saw the return of Jared Weaver from the Disabled List. Pitching a fantastic game, he goes into the fifth inning with a no hitter going. Let me repeat that, Weaver completed four innings of work and had allowed zero hits and zero walks. This is when Greg Amsinger decided to chime in and start talking about a perfect game and how incredible it would be because of his return from the DL. I immediately became infuriated. What makes it worse is that Sean Casey, a former player, warns Amsinger not to do that, only to get a reply from him saying how he doesn’t know Weaver personally so nobody cares, it can’t harm anyone…WRONG. Fans care. I cared. It was too early and too stupid to talk about at that moment. Predictably, one of the first batters in the 5th hit a shallow fly which broke the perfect game up.
The point I am trying to make with this article (which may seem like a rant, so my apologies) is that some things are sacred about the game of baseball and with today’s media and sports coverage being what it is, we seem to ruin and disgrace the history and heritage of the game. There are positive ways to alert fans about potentially historic moments without providing the jinx, but the way thing are now just feels like a slippery slope to worse things. Baseball is still one of those simple American past times that should be admired and enjoyed. I just hope that I can enjoy some clever banter when watching the game and not have to worry about muting the T.V.
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