Wednesday, September 2, 2009

They jinxed it

The other night I was watching the Red Sox on NESN and simultaneously checking in on the Yankees game on Great picture, by the way. Andy Pettitte has gotten into the 7th inning with a perfect game. Two outs. On YES, the Yankee network, they go to a clip of David Wells being picked up and carried off the field (no easy task with Boomer) when he had a perfect game. Don't they know that's a guaranteed jinx? You don't mention it until it has actually happened. So what did happen? The very next batter hits a grounder to Jerry Hairston, Jr. at 3rd and he boots it. There goes the perfect game. The next batter hits a clean single to left, and the no-hitter bid is history. The final score was 5-1, Yankees, so it wasn't even a shutout.

Andy wasn't particularly gracious about it, as you can see from the photo.

In contrast, let's look at June 7, 2007. I was in Oakland with my daughter Kara. Curt Schilling was on the mound for the Red Sox for an afternoon game. The A's had won three straight from the Red Sox, and Curt was intent on being a stopper. In the top of the first David Ortiz homered, and that was the only scoring of the game. Kara and I were, as usual, scoring the game, and Schilling was putting up nothing but zeros. We noted it with a gesture of the pencil, but said nothing. In the 7th inning, with a perfect game going, there was a room-service grounder to Julio Lugo at short, and Lugo booted it. There went Schill's perfect game. In typical Schilling fashion, he just soldiered on. It went to the bottom of the 9th. Two outs, no-hitter still intact. Varitek puts down a sign and Curt shakes him off. On the next pitch Stewart singles to right and ruins the no-hit bid. The next guy is retired and the Red Sox win, 1-0. A complete-game one-hit shutout for Curt Schilling.

Unlike Andy Pettitte, Curt lay no blame anywhere but at his own feet. "With two outs I was sure I had it. I shook off Jason Varitek and now I'll have to deal with a 'what-if' the rest of my life. Obviously I made a mistake when I shook off 'Tek." He should have been angry about Lugo's sloppy error. If Lugo had fielded that grounder, and if everything else happened exactly as it did, Shannon Stewart would not have stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the 9th and Schill would have a perfect game.

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