Matt Cain and the Story of the Perfect Game
After a momentous occasion such as a perfect game or a World Series, everyone has their own “Where Were You When…” story to tell. Oftentimes they tell of randomly receiving tickets to what appeared to be an ordinary game only to witness something that will be remembered forever. Well this is not one of those stories. No, this story is of a Giants fan living in Seattle who didn’t have access to a television to witness something that will be remembered forever. And as tragic as that may seem, this story comes with a side of happy ending, so don’t string up your violins just yet.
My “Where Were You When Matt Cain Pitched a Perfect Game” begins on a night where my family was in town visiting for the weekend. We had dinner plans that happened to overlap with what we all thought would be an ordinary unspectacular Astros game. On the way to the restaurant, we had the radio on and Brandon Belt stepped up to the plate. The following exchange took place between me and a family member who will go unnamed (admittedly I may be paraphrasing a bit here):
Family Member (as Brandon Belt comes up to hit): I don’t know about Brandon Belt, he’s had all year and hasn’t done that well.
Brandon Belt hits a two-run home run to straightaway center-field
That was the first indicator that tonight was going to be strange in some way. At the time we weren’t sure how, but weird things were happening and we didn’t know why.
Shortly after we turned off the radio, went into the restaurant, and settled in for a nice, long dinner. Being the obsessive-to-the-point-of-rudeness type of Giants fan I am, I found myself checking my phone more often than is considered acceptable in an establishment of fine dining. Through about four innings Cain still hadn’t given up a hit. Or a walk. Or an anything. I put my phone away as the Giants jumped out to an early ten run lead. There was no way that this perfection on the pitching side would continue.
I didn’t check the score again until the seventh inning and once again noticed that the Astros had yet to reach base. I mentioned this to my family who, much like normal functional human beings, were engaged in a conversation not about baseball. If I remember correctly it was something about fine dining. After explaining to the table what a perfect game was, I did the polite thing and excused myself from dessert for the ninth inning. I experienced the final three outs of the 22nd perfect game in Major League history sitting in a parked car by myself, probably scaring every passerby as I violently beat the steering wheel every time a strike was thrown.
This may seem like the tragic tale of “How I Missed Most of the Greatest Matt Cain Performance Ever,” but really it’s a testament to how every fan experiences history differently. Some people were at the game. Others watched from the comfort of their living room. And still others celebrated together in cities across the country as comrades-in-expatriation. Every fan’s experience was unique in some way, and everyone has their own story worth telling. When your grandchildren ask you where you were when Matt Cain threw a perfect game, you can tell them that story.