In the 134-season history of major league baseball in this country, there have been a total of 388,502 (and counting) attempts to pitch a perfect game; that is, there have been 194,251 games (and counting) and each game has presumably started with two opposing pitchers facing eah other. Of those 388,502 opportunities, only 18 of them have resulted in a perfect game. Put it this way - when you sit down at a bar or in your living room to watch a baseball game, there is only a .0093% - one nine-thousandth of one percent - chance that the game you watch will result in an elusive perfect game.
And yet, there I was last Thursday afternoon, sitting in my home office on Chicago’s north side watching Comcast SportsNet as Mark Buehrle inched ever closer to the near-impossible. At some point in the 7th inning, I hit the record button on the DVR remote…you know, just in case. By the end of the 8th inning, I was beginning to think it might actually happen. And then, in the 9th inning, Gabe Kapler hit a deep fly ball that seemed destined to bring everyone back to reality, when DeWayne Wise made the catch of the year that kept the perfection alive. Two short outs later, Buehrle had done the unthinkable, and I had the same thought in my head as millions of people across the country did later that evening as they saw the highlights - “dude, Buehrle owes Wise BIG-TIME.” So…what exactly is saving a perfect game worth, anyway?