In the wake of Roy Halladay(notes) pitching the 20th perfect game in big league history, here's a roundup of 27 thoughts, stats and excerpts, one for each batter he consecutively retired.
1. I was in the 300-level of Chicago's United Center, watching the Blackhawks and Flyers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, when I first heard about Halladay's achievement. And I have to admit that it peeved me a bit at first. Why couldn't Roy have went 27 up, 27 down on a night when more people were watching? When the nation's sporting attention wasn't focused toward marquee events in hockey, basketball and mixed martial arts? What's more, couldn't he have waited to throw a perfect game in front of the love fest that 45,000 Phillies fans throw for him every start at Citizens Bank Park?
He may be a heck of a pitcher, but he sure has terrible timing, I thought.
And yet the more I think about it, the more the circumstances of Halladay's perfecto makes perfect sense. After more than a decade of dominating in relative obscurity of Rogers Centre, it somehow seems poetically appropriate that he'd notch pitching's grandest achievement on a random Saturday night in late May, in a converted football stadium, in front of a lot of transplanted Philadelphians and below towering cliffs of empty orange seats. The more I think about it, he probably couldn't — or shouldn't — have done it any other way.
2. I'm also glad he got out of the postgame mob without breaking a leg.
3. Joe Posnanski: "It was a thing of beauty — a perfect reduction of the Roy Halladay pitching genius. He was working the alleys, daring hitters, imposing his will. Other pitchers look at Halladay as a freak of nature — nobody else can throw that heavy, cutting fastball on the corner time after time after time. Nobody else has the same knack for making hitters bats feel hollow."
4. Bill Lyon, Philadelphia Inquirer: "Last night, everyone with a bat was at his mercy. Marlins flopped helplessly about like boated bass, flailing wildly or staring incredulously over called strike three and thinking: Hit that? Don't think so ... In all the celebrating, Halladay seemed singularly unimpressed with what he had just done, his bristled face still tight. He still had his Darth Vader face on."5. Fun fact #1: Only six perfect games have been pitched on the road.
6. But that doesn't mean the Halladay's host couldn't appreciate the feat. In a class move, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had the grounds crew dig up the pitching rubber so it could be presented to Halladay.
7. But not that all Marlins immediately went into the fawning "upset to lose, but appreciate the achievement mode" we sometime see. Silly as it sounds, Mike Lamb(notes) thought Florida may have helped Doc out.
"I thought, (watching) from the side, there were pitches up in the zone that we fouled off," he said. "When you're facing a guy of that caliber, you can't miss those pitches. I don't want to sit here and criticize my teammates, but that's what it looked like. There looked like there were opportunities and we fouled them off."
8. And there was a little grumbling in the Marlins clubhouse over the outside corner that Halladay was getting. Chris Coghlan(notes) could have drawn a walk from Florida's first at-bat of the game were it not for that corner on a 3-2 pitch.
"I don't want to talk about the strike zone because that discredits what he did," Coghlan said "But there were some pitches that were close, but you can't do nothing about it now."
9. Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports: "The difference between brilliance and immortality is one pitch, and seven times Halladay ran the count to three balls only to bail himself out. He struck out 11, and certainly the Marlins were culpable, yet the instinct is to heap all the praise on Halladay's effort because he is the archetypal starting pitcher, big and strong and hungry and full of guts and gusto."
10. Jason Weitzel, Beerleaguer: "Halladay was never straight with a single pitch. He lived on the outside corners, and home plate umpire Mike DiMuro was happy to oblige. DiMuro established a liberal strikezone early and stayed consistent with it; once this game moved into the later stages, DiMuro's eyes must have been as wide as golf balls."
12. Here's an interesting note via @D_Stro: Six of the last nine perfect games have been thrown by lefties, but Marlins announcer Dave Van Horne has been in the booth for the last three that were thrown by righties (Halladay, Dennis Martinez and David Cone).
13. Enrico Campitelli, The 700 Level: "Perhaps the only unfortunate aspect of Roy's perfection tonight was the fact that his performance was fighting for eyeballs against game one of the Flyers' Stanley Cup Finals battle with the Chicago Blackhawks ...Typically when Roy's on the mound, every single Phillies fan in the nation is tuned in to watch the man do his magic. Unfortunately tonight, many of us didn't get to witness the entire nine innings of perfection."
14. Because no celebration of a big baseball feat is complete these days without the grainy grandstand footage that is uploaded to YouTube ...
15. Zoo With Roy: "I'm a grown, fairly educated man with a family, a house, an SUV and a white collar job. I have an MBA. So why am I spending my time writing (and illustrating, gracefully) a web page about eating cotton candy with Roy Halladay while we admire hippos and red pandas? After last night, I no longer need justification. There is no such thing as perfection in this life, but perhaps one of sport's greatest merits is that it allows us moments to believe in its attainability." (via Deadspin)
16. Today's stupid question: Does this mean we're not allowed to get all antsy over Charlie Manuel leaving Halladay out there for 115 pitches Saturday night?
17. Frank Fitzpatrick, Philadelphia Inquirer: "As Roy Halladay probably knows, the last Phillie to throw a perfect game ended up in the Hall of Fame and the U.S. Senate. It's too early to predict what the future holds for the bearded righthander, who Saturday night became just the second Phillie and 20th big-league pitcher to achieve perfection. But if he's anything like Jim Bunning, the perfect game might change his life forever."
18. Here's footage of Halladay walking to the bus while being cheered by fans — and heckled by one ungrateful guy who is angry that Doc doesn't sign any autographs.
19. Jayson Stark, ESPN: "He's a different kind of creature than just about anyone else in his profession these days. He's a pitching monster who seems to have popped out of a time machine, transported into the year 2010 with the mindset of a guy who'd have been very comfortable pitching in 1910."
20. Fun fact #3: As Stark points out, Halladay is the fifth Cy Young winner to throw a perfect game. Randy Johnson, David Cone, Catfish Hunter and Sandy Koufax are the others.
22. Fun fact #4: Johnson isn't alone in history. Six perfect games have been decided by the score of 1-0.
23. My favorite Twitter comment of the night came from @jessespector: "So, how does Roy Halladay's grandma feel about A-Rod? That's how this works, right?"
24. Today's stupid question #2: When does Halladay get a samurai sword?
25. A lot of people were quick to make the joke that no fans were on hand in Florida to watch the perfect game, but the announced attendance of 25,086 was almost twice the amount of A's fans (12,228) that saw Dallas Braden(notes) pitch his perfect game earlier this month.
26. In case you're wondering, the lowest known attendance for a perfect game was 6,298 for Catfish Hunter's perfecto in 1968. The highest, of course, was 64,519 at Yankee Stadium for Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
27. Tim Reynolds, Associated Press: "Halladay arrived (back) at the stadium around 8:45 a.m. Sunday, having slept for only a few hours. His phone was filled with messages from well-wishers, the Phillies tucked his cap and jersey away for safekeeping, and plenty of teammates were watching as TVs in the clubhouse kept showing the final out from the night before. When the Phillies' pitchers headed out to the field for stretching and light tossing a little past 11 a.m., there was Halladay, working like nothing special had happened."