SEATTLE -- For planning purposes, teams really should put perfect games on their pocket schedules. Like, "April 21: Mariners Military Coin Giveaway/Philip Humber Perfect Game Day."
I was in Seattle’s Pike Place Market on Saturday afternoon when an editor called and asked, "Are you watching this?"
Uh, oh. That was not a question I wanted to hear because I clearly was not aware of the "this" to which he was referring, though I assumed it involved the Mariners. Choosing whether to attend Seattle’s game against the White Sox on Saturday or Sunday, I had chosen Sunday. Bad call. "Phil Humber has a perfect game through eight," my editor said, asking whether I could get to the stadium for a story.
Well, I was only 1½ miles from the stadium but I was completely unprepared. I had no credential. I had no computer. I had no notebook and no pen. Much worse, I was 40 miles into a 60-mile bike ride and had no clothes beyond the sweaty black bike shorts, purple Husky bike jersey and bike shoes I was wearing.
But a perfect game is a perfect game, so I hopped on my bike and raced to the ballpark, hoping to catch the last inning. Being on a bike was actually a good thing because it allowed me to ride in the bike lanes past slow downtown traffic and through alleyways and side streets otherwise off-limits. Plus, with postgame traffic diversions outside the stadium already in effect, a car would have taken much longer.
Even so, as I rode the final blocks to the stadium, I found I had to fight my way through crowds of fans outside the park. Now, the majority of them were on their way to a motocross event at the football stadium. But enough were wearing Mariners shirts and jerseys that some had to have been coming from the baseball game, meaning they left with a perfect game intact. I was stunned. You can have a good debate about when it is acceptable to leave a game but I think we can all agree that you definitely cannot leave a perfect game in the eighth or ninth inning, no matter how much the babysitter charges.
I was so upset I even yelled at one. What are you doing!?!