Poorly timed absence

Let’s make this point clear right from the start:

Thursday’s piece of history made by Mark Buehrle had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me, just in case you were wondering. Now, allow me to explain how little my involvement actually was on this day.

This final game of the four-game set against Tampa Bay was a rare day off for me, believe it or not, although I was coming off three unscheduled days off this past weekend brought about by a new personal record 103.4 degree fever just a few days prior. Sure, Buehrle’s perfect game gets bundles of publicity and my fever, 17 degrees higher than Buehrle’s average velocity for his pitches Thursday, gets no play at all.

So, I was not at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday, and in fact, thought I had made a good move to set myself up for an easier weekend. With the split doubleheader at Comerica Park starting at 1 p.m. ET, I decided to skip the possibility of a 6 a.m. flight out of Chicago on Friday and just arrive in Detroit on Thursday. Little did I know … .

Earlier in the day, I was talking to my boss about a few story ideas and baseball, in general, when he told me before the game that Buehrle was the latest addition to his fantasy team. I was put on humorous warning that I would be held responsible if Buehrle didn’t pitch well, so the perfect game alleviated that problem for me, which is nice.

Before I left my place in a cab for Midway Airport, I checked the score and saw the White Sox had a big lead and Buehrle was perfect through five. I didn’t think much of it, not with Tampa Bay’s offense, aside from another well-pitched game from the hurler who is going to win the AL Cy Young award in 2009.

By the time I was about two exits away from Midway, Buehrle had gone through seven with a perfecto. Sadly, it was too late to turn around and go back to the ballpark due to wonderful Chicago mid-day traffic and the fact that Buehrle can work six innings in about 18 minutes.

My cab driver was listening to a show on WLS Radio and didn’t want to turn to the game, so I was following on my cell phone. In the ninth, the Gamecast had a glitch and told me that Gabe Kapler doubled to start the frame, but it also had “In Play (out)” underneath. I knew Buehrle worked fast but not that fast. Apparently, Dewayne Wise’s catch momentarily fooled whoever was inputting the coding.

By the time I was in the security line, Buehrle had completed the perfect game. The cheer in the airport when Jason Bartlett grounded out would make an unassuming traveler believe airfare was free.

Instead, it was Buehrle joining a select list of six pitchers who had two no-hitters and one being a perfect game, with the other five being Hall-of-Famers–well, Randy Johnson will be a Hall-of-Famer. Buehrle made history, without me there, and I’m guessing I wasn’t missed.

You know the old saying about “No cheering in the pressbox?” On Thursday, I was smiling in the security line at Midway. Good fortune such as this couldn’t happen to a classier pro.

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