On a night when virtually the entire sporting public in Philadelphia had ice on their minds, Roy Halladay induced channel surfers to watch him pitch in steamy South Florida as he hurled the 20th perfect game in major league baseball history.
So much for pitch counts, eh?
The Fly Boys were where it was at until one out of fifty sports ban patrons seated over in the corner in front of the analog tv's noticed something special was happening in Miami. "Hold on, everybody", the lonely fans announced to no one in particular. "Halladay has a No No going." "What inning is it?", those few who heard the lonely cry inquired. "The sixth," came the reply. Silence followed.
Ten or fifteen minutes later the lonely voiced piped up again. "Hey, wait. He's into the eighth inning and he's got a perfect game going."
A few more people drifted over to the corner. Suddenly, people were rooting in front of the analog TV. Several more patrons wandered over to see what the fuss was all about. Soon a crowd had gathered. "Hey, switch the channel," those patrons still in front of the High Def sets pleaded. The hockey game was tied a five apiece. Ho hum. Soon every tv in the joint was tuned to Halladay.
Miami sent up three pinch hitters in the ninth. The first one drove Shane Victorino to the track in deep center field. That was the last threat. The next two went down easily. Earlier, in the eighth inning Phillies-killer Jorge Cantu hit a screamer to substitute third baseman Juan Castro who made a play worthy of Mike Schmidt. That was the toughest out of the evening.
Halladay, the stoic with the Sphinx-like expression, broke into a smile. His catcher, Carlos Ruiz, literally half Halladay's size, rushed out to embrace him. Ryan Howard, a grin a mile wide, ran over to join in the celebration. Soon everyone in red pinstripes had surrounded Halladay, slapping him on the back, jumping up and down. Charlie Manuel sauntered out to shake his pitcher's big right hand.
Halladay had his perfect game. Hold on, Roy, I thought. Just because your mates can't score any runs doesn't mean you have to be perfect. On second thought, why not?!