On Saturday, the Seattle Mariners hosted the Chicago White Sox. Safeco Field did not get the Mariners victory they came to the game hoping for, but ended up with something far, far rarer. They were treated to a perfect game, thrown by White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber. It was only the 21st perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball. It's a staggering achievement. But some writers couldn't wait to lessen the achievement, at the expense of the Mariners.
Matthew Pouliot of HardballTalk is one of the people who took to the Internet almost immediately after the game to point out what a bad team the 2012 Mariners are. This may or may not be true. Seattle fans are certainly no strangers to rooting for bad teams. Early in the season, the Mariners have been bad a bit more often than they've been good, but they haven't been awful. And through Saturday's game, they certainly weren't one of the worst teams in the league.
What's more, pitching a perfect game is incredibly hard, no matter where, when, or against which team it is thrown. That's sort of the reason why it's only been done 20 times prior. That's what makes it so amazing and spectacular. That's what makes it worth celebrating. Because even the worst teams of all time can usually manage a hit, or a walk, or a run, or reach on an error, or do any of those things in bunches, on any given day.
I agree that all perfect games are not created equal. It would have been far more impressive if Humber had done the same thing against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. But to rush to the keyboard to immediately undermine Humber's big day is absurd.
There's a reason that fans give rousing ovations to opposing players who pitch no-hitters or perfect games. Because it's an insanely difficult and rare accomplishment. One that is worth celebrating. One that makes baseball so fantastic. The 2012 Mariners are not the worst team in history. On Saturday, they weren't even the worst team in the American League. And they had a perfect game thrown against them.
Tomorrow we'll root for the Mariners to get better and to win. But today we'll say bravo for Philip Humber,because he deserves every ounce of praise we can give.
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