Make no mistake about it: Matt Cains perfect game against the Houston Astros on Wednesday in San Francisco was a great piece of work. It was the 22nd in major league baseball history and the second in which I have been part of the telecast. It just couldnt match my first one, for several reasons.
My first perfect-game telecast had the team I was working with win. Kenny Rogers of the Texas Rangers blanked the California Angels on July 28, 1994. I called all nine innings of play-by-play for Home Sports Entertainment television.
Cain threw his perfecto for the Giants, against the team I was working with, when he beat the Astros. My personal role was less, as the sideline commentator. This was Bill Browns game to call
So although I have been a part of history twice, I still have to go with the Rogers perfect game as my No. 1 baseball highlight.
That is in no way to denigrate what Cain did. He struck out 14 Astros. That equaled the most in a perfect game, matching Hall of Famer Sandy Koufaxs performance in 1965. He was dominant. Only two balls hit by Jordan Schafer and one by Chris Snyder were hit well enough to break up the perfecto.
The most questionable play of the game came in the fourth inning on a sharp liner down the first-base line that hit the ground in fair territory just short of the bag then bounced wide — too wide according to umpire Mike Muchlinski — as a foul ball. Television replays indicated that might have not been the correct call, but many would feel the video was inconclusive. Schafer ultimately struck out in that at-bat.
In the sixth inning, Snyder drove a ball to the wall in left that Melky Cabrera hauled in. Snyder thought he had hit a home run and said after the game that play is when he thought it might be a special night for Cain.
The Astros hit one other ball — again by Schafer — that was definitely fair and headed for the gap in right-center field. But, somehow, right fielder Gregor Blanco laid out and caught the ball with a dive. After that, Cain retired the last eight hitters with ease.
In Rogers perfect game, there were fewer big plays. Only a diving catch by Rusty Greer in the ninth was a tough chance. Of course, Rogers did not approach Cains record-tying strikeout total, either. Rogers had eight.
I am glad to say I saw and was part of Cains no-hitter for the baseball experience. It would have been nicer had the Astros pitcher accomplished the deed, but baseball is unique to any other sport. Can anything in football or basketball match a no-hitter or perfect game in baseball where the actual score of the game being played becomes irrelevant?
It is just another reason why baseball is the best game ever invented. Now, as Astros followers and backers, we can put Cains heroics away just a few hours later and try anew to beat the Giants.
Tags: Sports Entertainment