BY SPNW Staff 03:57PM 04/21/2012

Perfecto vs. Mariners by Philip (Who?) Humber

Baseball history isn’t often made at Safeco Field. But fortunately, there’s always a team playing besides the Mariners.

The Chicago White Sox’s Philip Humber, a 29-year-old Texan coming back from Tommy John surgery, threw a perfect game against the Mariners Sunday afternoon, thrilling 22,742 fans in a 4-0 decision in which only one ball, from Dustin Ackley, was in danger of falling in.

As fans stood in anticipation through the ninth inning, Humber reached his first three-ball count of the game against leadoff hitter Michael Saunders, who turned the 3-0 count into strike three swinging. Pinch-hitter John Jaso flied to right, bringing up a second pinch-hitter, Brendan Ryan, with the final Mariners’ opportunity.

Ryan reached 3-2, fouled back a pitch, then appeared to get ball four on a breaking pitch in the dirt that escaped catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s grasp. But an astonished Ryan was called for swinging at strike three, even though he appeared to check his swing. Since strike three must be caught, Pierzynski hustled after the ball that dribbled 30 feet away, while Ryan dawdled down the line, protesting.

He was thrown out at first, and the party began. Humber fell to his knees between the mound and first, then went face down in the grass as his teammates mobbed him. He was inundated as the Safeco crowd gave him an ovation.

Humber threw 96 pitches, had seven strikeouts, 13 fly-outs and seven ground outs for the 21st perfect game in MLB’s long history.

With his fifth team in a seven-year career, Humber entered the game with an MLB record of 11-10 with 4.06 ERA, which doesn’t speak to a history of domination. But he was up against the Mariners, who entered the game 13th in the American League in batting average. They were a mere .214 in first eight games of the homestand, which ends Sunday with a third game against the White Sox.

The loss was the fourth in five games for the Mariners. But no one who saw it was thinking about the Mariners woes.


YourThoughts

  • John Levesque

    And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse: After Sunday, 20 of the Mariners’ next 26 games are on the road, all against teams with records of .500 or better, except for the Red Sox. 

    • Artthiel

       John, you lighthearted debbil — good to read your optimism.

  • John Levesque

    And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse: After Sunday, 20 of the Mariners’ next 26 games are on the road, all against teams with records of .500 or better, except for the Red Sox. 

    • Artthiel

       John, you lighthearted debbil — good to read your optimism.

  • Old Goat

    The writing was on the wall, indeed although congrats to Humber are in order this “perfect game” was thrown against the equivalent of a AA team. One game does not a season or franchise make unless it’s a continuation of an ongoing trend such as lack of or no offense. And again the players are coached patience. This is reflected by watching a fastball dead center go by to prove your patience, then swinging at pitches in the dirt. Low attendance will be earned by this teams lousy performance and will then be held up as a consideration if and when the team has been sold with an owner hell bent on moving it. Not as though it’s ever happened before….. Sometimes it’s hard to be a fan…………  

    • Artthiel

       Goat, these last three M’s games have been a trial. But fear not — Howard and Chuck are out there, telling the hoop kids to keep off Safeco’s lawn.

  • Old Goat

    The writing was on the wall, indeed although congrats to Humber are in order this “perfect game” was thrown against the equivalent of a AA team. One game does not a season or franchise make unless it’s a continuation of an ongoing trend such as lack of or no offense. And again the players are coached patience. This is reflected by watching a fastball dead center go by to prove your patience, then swinging at pitches in the dirt. Low attendance will be earned by this teams lousy performance and will then be held up as a consideration if and when the team has been sold with an owner hell bent on moving it. Not as though it’s ever happened before….. Sometimes it’s hard to be a fan…………  

    • Artthiel

       Goat, these last three M’s games have been a trial. But fear not — Howard and Chuck are out there, telling the hoop kids to keep off Safeco’s lawn.

  • Jamo57

    Wasn’t Humber an intern in the Clinton Administration?   Oh wait……

    • Artthiel

       Jamo, you’re mixing this up with the large, gas-guzzling vehicle.

  • Jamo57

    Wasn’t Humber an intern in the Clinton Administration?   Oh wait……

    • Artthiel

       Jamo, you’re mixing this up with the large, gas-guzzling vehicle.

  • Phharmening

    What’s the first 2 draft picks for 2012 look like?

    • Jamo57

      Or for that matter 2013.

    • Artthiel

       Gentlemen: One loss. A bad, soul-scraping, mind-numbing, retro-to-Roop-days kind of loss. But one loss. Would you have felt better if Ryan walked?

  • Phharmening

    What’s the first 2 draft picks for 2012 look like?

    • Jamo57

      Or for that matter 2013.

    • Artthiel

       Gentlemen: One loss. A bad, soul-scraping, mind-numbing, retro-to-Roop-days kind of loss. But one loss. Would you have felt better if Ryan walked?

  • Joe fan

    Art, I know this is just one game and we can’t overreact, but do you honestly believe that this team can consistently compete with Chuckie and Howie and the current ownership group at the helm? I just do not think it is possible. The tone set at the top is so, so important, and that goes for any organization. Do these guys really have the primary will to win? I just don’t see it. Do you?

  • Joe fan

    Art, I know this is just one game and we can’t overreact, but do you honestly believe that this team can consistently compete with Chuckie and Howie and the current ownership group at the helm? I just do not think it is possible. The tone set at the top is so, so important, and that goes for any organization. Do these guys really have the primary will to win? I just don’t see it. Do you?

  • RadioGuy

    Well, let’s just push the panic button and cancel the rest of the season right now.  Why play the remaining 146 games when here we are 7-9 after the first 16…that’s a hole we’ll NEVER dig out of.

    If some of the chicken littles who post here and elsewhere were running the Union Army during the CIvil War, they’d have thrown in the towel after Bull Run and we’d all be singing “Dixie.”

  • RadioGuy

    Well, let’s just push the panic button and cancel the rest of the season right now.  Why play the remaining 146 games when here we are 7-9 after the first 16…that’s a hole we’ll NEVER dig out of.

    Nobody likes losing and nobody thinks the Chuck & Howie Show is geared toward winning ballgames, but for goodness sakes, it’s a young team with a long season ahead of them. I’m not ready to start counting the months/weeks/days until the NFL season just yet.

    If some of the chicken littles who post here and elsewhere were running the Union Army during the CIvil War, they’d have thrown in the towel after Bull Run and we’d all be singing “Dixie.”

  • Bayviewherb

    On some nights it appears that the opposing batting pracice pitcher could no-no the Mariners. They have two infielders that hit better than Ryan, plus a spare ccatcher that has never caught a game for the M’s, but seems to get hits.The little ball of fire from Japan should be inserted into the lineup for if nothing else, an injectin of enthusiasm 

  • Bayviewherb

    On some nights it appears that the opposing batting pracice pitcher could no-no the Mariners. They have two infielders that hit better than Ryan, plus a spare ccatcher that has never caught a game for the M’s, but seems to get hits.The little ball of fire from Japan should be inserted into the lineup for if nothing else, an injectin of enthusiasm 

  • Eric K

    You gotta admit one funny thing, if before the season some had said there will be game involving the Seahawks with a call so bad that it outrages everyone about the replacement refs you sure would have thought they’d be on the losing side. Just the ways things usually go around here

    • art thiel

      I think most markets feel some persecution. Part of being a hometown fan. It’s just that in Seattle, the feeling is unrelieved by occasional success.

  • zip

    yeahh strike – keep these replacement refs!!!

  • Tim M.

    Great, insightful piece Art. Almost everyone loves drama, even though they claim otherwise. Hell, that’s why we watch sports. I think the Packers deserved to win at the end, but when you add all the bad calls together, who knows? I felt sort of sick about it, but would Green Bay have acted differently if they’d been gifted a win like that?

    Unfortunately, what gets overshadowed is that our defense manhandled them most of the night. In the end, I think our Hawks will play with an even bigger chip on their shoulder. Hopefully Carroll will let Wilson cut loose more.

    The NFL has become a joke, but just watch the ratings explode next week as people are calling for a boycott! These refs make for great theater, whether or not you’re not a sports fan.

    • art thiel

      It is great theater,and Tim. The unscripted aspect of sports is why it’s always been better than “reality” TV. You’re right, much was overshadowed: Did Bruce’s Irvin’s name get mentioned in any post-game story? Doutbtful. But the league moves on, and so will we, with even more people in tow.

  • Joe Fan

    I agree that the labor situation between the “real” refs and the NFL needs to be resolved soon, and that there has been a multitude of issues and problems with the replacement guys, but be careful what you wish for. The “real” refs have stiffed the Seahawks over and over again, dating back many, many years. Heck, one notable “stiff” had a hand in Dennis Erickson losing his job and instant replay being instituted. Seems like game after game the real refs have caused us hours if not years of consternation. Maybe there would be less pain and suffering caused us all by the real refs, but as history has shown us Seahawk fans, their favorable input on our lives has only been marginally better than the replacements, in fact, after last night I kind of like these replacement guys a little better!

    • art thiel

      Joe, I’m well aware of the Seahawks history, and also aware that every franchise has similar stories, although SB XL has to top all. But please believe me when I tell you that the regular refs are EXTREMELY professional in their attention to duty and their desire to protect the NFL “shield.” That’s why there’s so much bitterness now. Yes, they’ve missed calls, but if you ever get a chance to stand on a sideline to see how incredibly fast an NFL game is, your respect will skyrocket. It is a very difficult enterprise to manage, as the the truck drivers and waiters doing the job now are proving.

  • Matt712

    NFL refs have been derided for decades; it goes with the job. Goodell & co. probably thought they could put striped shirts on zebra-riding chimpanzees and no one would know difference. And really, is the officiating that much worse than its ever been? Well, maybe (although I’m not convinced Monday’s debacle would never have happened otherwise). But what they surely didn’t think of was that, regardless of decline in competence, the lockout scribbles out the unspoken rule of teams not (publicly) blaming the officials for poor performance. Now everyone gets to bitch. And that looks bad.

    I’m not even sure what my point is. But, I think it’s just a response to all the ‘hoary bromides’ (thank you Art) I keep hearing about jeopardizing the game’s integrity and “tarnishing the shield.” Really? Umm, this is professional sports in 2012, action packed with high prices, elitism, and the justification for which is that it’s actually an entertainment industry ever more on par with something out of Hollywood. Well hey, I’m entertained!

    Maybe we’ll just have to accept bad officiating as part of the new NFL paradigm. Oh wait. Hasn’t it always been?

    • art

      Covered a lot of ground Matt. I would say that the officiating is much, much worse because the unpenalized plays (OL holds, PIs) are undermining the game and provoking fights. Since you don’t much care about the integrity issue (there has to be integrity or there wouldn’t be gambling, and the NFL would collapse — how’s that for a pile o’ irony?), let’s just have the entertainment value ratchet up with a topless Kim Kardashian as lead official.

  • Obi-jonKenobi

    When you snarked about the officials making two different signals on the final play and that they were guilty of “then still not getting it right upon replay review”, how did they NOT get it right?

    Leaving aside the shove by Tate that should have been flagged but wasn’t and wasn’t reviewable, and focusing only on the issue of possession, did or did not Tate have a firm grip on the ball from almost the same instant that Jennings touched it to the time they both hit the ground with co-possession of the ball?

    The “co-possession” may have been 60/40 but Tate still had some degree of possession, did he not? If that is the case, then how is this the wrong call?

    Just asking.

    • art thiel

      Jennings clearly had first possession and never lost it, Tate grabbed for the ball on the way down and got to 50-50 on the ground (play over), when the refs arrived. The replay officials could see what the refs couldn’t in real time, but declined to reverse for reasons they will never tell but common sense would suggest — they didn’t want to reverse a game-winning TD call by the refs on the ground to made a bad situation worse. They hid behind “inconclusive.”

  • PokeyPuffy

    This is big news because one of the NFL untouchables (Pittsburgh/Dallas/GreenbBay/NewEngland/NYG) got the short end of the stick. These franchises are predestined, given their storied history, correct time zonage (East and Central only need apply) and jersey sales.

    The Seattles, Buffalos and Clevelands of the world are not supposed to get these calls. We are the eternal losers and i think people feel the universe is out of sorts when things like this happen. It kind of feels like Charlie Brown finally kicked the ball w/o Lucy pulling it away at the last second!

    • art thiel

      I was wondering when the conspiracy theorists would surface. Thanks, Pokey. The line starts at the grassy knoll. :)

      • Hammtime

        Art, while I wouldn’t go so far as to say certain franchises are given favoritism by the NFL, I do think that a big part of the outrage over this is because the victim was the Green Bay Packers. Do you really think there would be nearly as much outrage if it were the Hawks that were the victims and the Packers were the beneficiaries? I doubt it. Imagine the outrage if it were the Packers who got screwed in Superbowl XL! The sky would be falling!

  • Soggyblogger

    We live in a market economy and this article proves it. Why else would you write the 3,453,233 story on this? And people are still reading and commenting….like me. But I am done. Even a hook as good as a possible interview with Allen will not lure me to another story on this single play of this single game.

    So where is your article on Bruce Irvin, Art? You’ve squeezed all the juice out of this story. Time to move on.

    • art thiel

      Soggy, the story is irresistible on so many levels that here you are, unable to help yourself from commenting. Don’t ask me for help stopping your craving. There must be a Commenters Anonymous somewhere.

  • Obi-jonKenobi

    This is a little off topic, Art, but I thought it would be of interest here.

    Never underestimate the passions of the NFL football fan or the power of those passions to cause (fill in the blank) inconsistency, irrationality, hypocrisy.

    Here’s a wonderful little sidebar to the Monday Night Miracle, the football game that has become front-page news and has propelled the lock-out of the NFL referees into the spotlight because of the almost-universal agreement that the Seahawk touchdown was the wrong call by incompetent replacement refs. As a result, people are screaming for the return of the regular (union) refs. And, where there’s a crowd gathered during election season with a strongly-held desire, it is as inevitable as sharks circling a bloody carcass that the politicians will be circling too, pandering to that desire.

    That is how we come to find the world’s biggest anti-union villain, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, ascending a soap box and calling for the NFL to settle with the locked-out (union) referees after his (and his constituent’s) home team got “robbed”. Does it get any better than this? I hope Jon Stewart notices and mines this vein of comedy gold.

    Here’s New York Magazine writer, Jonathan Chait, on the Walker Transformation:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/09/scott-walker-packer-fan-now-a-union-man.html

    • art

      Thanks, Obi. I’ve followed that angle too. So has Stephen Colbert, check out his take from last night (rerun tonight).

  • H. Hanson

    1. The picture above shows Tate’s left arm signaling game over e ball and Jenning’s chest. Seems that should mean something.

    2. The referee was not signaling game over or touch back. He gave the signal to stop the clock (obviously erroneously as time had ran ouy)

  • mybrucealmighty

    They did, in fact, “get it right upon replay review,” as the applicable rules are written.

    • art thiel

      They hid behind “inconclusive.” Tate’s half of possession mostly came on the ground.

  • West Seattle Boy

    There were a lot of bad calls on both teams (that late pass interference call on Earl Thomas). Seattle just got lucky that the last one went their way

  • fjoro

    Goodell and the owners are correct in their belief that fans will forget fast enough once the regulars are back.

    They have a perfect case study from 1987, when replacement *players* were used. If I recall correctly, Sean Salisbury became something of a local hero for the Scabhawks, people went to the games, and the NFL seemed to recover OK after that. Talk about integrity issues with replacement referees seems trivial in the face of that.

    That’s not to say they’re doing the right thing.

  • notaboomer

    It might help that the president, a big sports fan, does not relish
    being taken for an idiot. Besides, he’s more invested than most in
    keeping terrorists from winning.

    obama’s drone war is really winning the global war on terra. man do i feel like a winner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.simmons.79 Adrian Simmons

    http://www.fieldgulls.com/2012/9/25/3410146/golden-tates-golden-catch

    Alot less clear cut than you make it out to be Art. Tate’s left hand touches the ball first and never comes off. Tate’s right hand moves to resecure the ball while Jennings and Tate are coming to the ground. To complete a catch you have to come down with the ball, not merely control it in the air. We’ve interceptions where the defender yanks it out the defenders hands in the air because it isn’t considered control until your down. If Tate’s hold is so weak, maybe you’ll explain how he held on with Jennings in the superior leverage position with is arm wrapped around the ball wrenching as hard as he can to get it free, yet unable to do so. Seems to me even the local media isn’t doing their research.

  • art thiel

    Off, you’re right, the NFL is doing what most bigger companies do regarding pensions vs. 401k. But these part-timers are different than contracted janitors. They are responsible for maintaining order, uniformity, safety and integrity for the entire industry. That a helluva responsibility for part-timers. And they take their part-time jobs very seriously. The role they occupy is almost unique, one that would rate special consideration from a $9.5 billion industry