Perfection is virtually unobtainable in any endeavor; even the most pure of moments can be dissected to the point that a blemish, however small, could be found by the most cynical of cynics.
Case in point: A friend of mine, who considers baseball an exercise in tedium, scoffed at the notion of Matt Cain’s masterpiece at AT&T Park on Wednesday as a perfect game.
“A perfect game,” he spat with a straight face, “would be 27 first-pitch outs or 27 three-pitch strikeouts.”
Then he pushed a 3-year-old off her tricycle and set fire to a newborn kitten.
Whatever. The rest of us are of the mind that perfection can, in fact, be achieved, and as far as perfect games go, Cain’s has to be at the top of the list.
Yes, Sandy Koufax also owns a 14-strikeout perfect game, and while that wasn’t something I was blessed enough to have witnessed, I have to make the case that Cain’s was MORE perfect.
No disrespect to Mr. Koufax, of course, but consider the following:
Cain’s came not long after, to the likely chagrin of the players’ union, which surely would have liked to see one of their best hit the open market as a free agent and raise the bar for subsequent “ace” contracts, he inked a long-term deal motivated by his loyalty to — and love for — all things San Francisco.
Signing that deal came in the wake of a career marked most distinguishably by an embarrassing lack of run support that could very well keep one of the best pitchers of our generation out of the Hall of Fame.
Cain’s gem also came quick on the heels of yet another desultory outing by the team’s former ace, Tim Lincecum, as if to announce to the fan base that, “Hey, we’re going to be fine. I’ll pick up the slack.”
And finally, it came at home, giving a sellout crowd the middle-of-the-diamond dogpile and all-out explosion of euphoria it was unable to experience during the magical 2010 playoff run, during which each of the Giants’ clinching victories — National League Division Series vs. the Atlanta Braves, NL Championship Series vs. the Philadelphia Phillies, World Series vs. the Texas Rangers — came on the road.
Throw in Jet Pack Man, the Gust From God that blew Chris Snyder’s deep drive from over the wall into Melky Cabrera’s glove, and of course Gregor Blanco’s ridiculous catch, and it’s hard to imagine perfection being any more perfect.
The NBA Finals tipped off Tuesday, and while I suspect the Bay Area audience tuned out the majority of the playoffs, LeBron James-Kevin Durant moves the needle everywhere because we love us some big names. We love ripping big names, too, and is James going to get ripped until he does what Durant did in his first career Finals game: come up huge late. Sad — James is a truly transcendent talent — but true. … Every year you assume the worm will turn and the A’s will have a relatively healthy year. Every year you’re slapped silly for the assumption. … Next person who calls the Giants’ brilliant young lefty Madison “BumGARDENER” gets a punch in the face and a lifetime ban from AT&T Park. … Outraged by the travesty of Tim Bradley’s decision over Manny Pacquiao? You must be new to the sport. Boxing’s been a joke for years. There’s a reason MMA is bigger these days. It’s a real sport.