Updated Apr 23, 2012 - 9:51 am
No shame in pulling for Humber during perfect game
By Jim Moore
I started to think about Philip Humber's perfect game in the sixth inning.
But I didn't start to root for it to happen until the eighth.
And then in the ninth, I was on my feet, clapping and cheering, hoping like hell it would happen.
For this special moment in baseball history, I was fortunate enough to be with my wife and kids in the front row behind home plate on the White Sox side of the camera well. Dave Pridemore, one of my bosses at 710 ESPN Seattle, gave me Diamond Club tickets for the game.
When Brendan Ryan was the Mariners' last chance to break up the no-hitter and the perfect game, I looked around and saw thousands of others on their feet, too. Most were Mariners fans.
Before Saturday's game, I never in a million years would've thought that I'd root for the other team, no matter the situation.
But I guess I don't have the same passion for the Mariners that I have for the Cougs. If the Cougs had been facing Humber, I would have been screaming and waving my arms, hoping to bother the White Sox right-hander so that he wouldn't be perfect against my team.
I would still be bitching about Ryan's check swing -- even as a Mariners fan, I thought he held up. At the very least, the home-plate umpire should have asked the first-base umpire for help.
(A very quick side note involving this game and the Cougs: my wife put up a small "Go Cougs" banner in the netting in front of our seats. It stayed there for a couple of innings until an usher asked us to take it down, saying: "It's distracting to the pitchers." I wanted to say that it didn't appear to be distracting the White Sox pitcher, but I kept the wisecrack to myself.)
Humber appreciated the applause he got from Mariners fans after the game. (AP)
But in the eighth, I started to waffle. I've never seen a no-hitter or a perfect game in person, and I can't even think of one that I've seen from first pitch to last pitch on TV.
Plus my 8-year-olds were with me. I didn't want to walk out of Safeco Field with their heads hanging, talking about another pathetic effort by the Mariners. As it was, one of my twins, Mikey, said: "Hey, Dad, out of all the horrible games the Mariners have played, that was by far the worst."
I was hoping that they'd see baseball history. A perfect game had happened only 20 times before.
So in the ninth inning, we were on our feet. Normally I would have been irritated that Michael Saunders swung at a full-count pitch out of the strike zone, but not this time. It kept the perfecto intact.
Under other circumstances, I would have been pulling like mad for pinch hitter John Jaso because I don't understand why he hasn't been playing more often. But this time I was glad to see him make the second out of the inning with a fly ball to right.
And then when Ryan stepped to the plate and started licking his shoulder, I wanted him to make an out in the worst way. I didn't care if it was a feeble grounder to short or a hot shot to first, or even a controversial check-swing strikeout.
Why? I'm still not sure. Apparently seeing a huge moment in baseball history was more important than the realization that it happened at the expense of the Mariners, a team I've rooted for since their very first game in 1977.
I guess it proves that I'm not a true-blue Mariners fan. Did you feel the same way? Or did you root for the M's to break it up and are still miffed at the home-plate umpire for blowing the call on Ryan?
I asked this question on Facebook and got a great response from "All Coug'd Up," who wrote: "This is the state of the Seattle Mariners, that a Safeco crowd starts rooting for the other team in the seventh inning for any reason. Sad. You fools should be ashamed of yourselves for calling yourselves fans! Winning fans NEVER hope to witness history against them. NEVER! You want a winning team in Seattle? Act like it."
After that kind of scolding, I feel more sheepish than I did Saturday. But seeing baseball history was worth it, even if it happened at the Mariners' expense.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, www.jimmoorethego2guy.com, and for the Kitsap Sun every Monday. In this week's column, Jim predicts the Seahawks will take Melvin Ingram with the 12th pick in Thursday's NFL draft.
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