Ruminations on Perfection


Very few pursuits allow for perfection. In bowling, there’s the 300 game but how much of that has to do with luck? Football quarterbacks can post a perfect passer rating but that usually still involves incompletions which is far from perfect in my book. And let’s be honest, when you’re forced to define perfection by a mathematical formula, how perfect is it really? (No offense to any of the mathematicians out there, obviously.)

But in baseball, perfection exists. And when Mark Buehrle hit the mound the other day, we got to see it. There were tense moments and some great plays that made it happen. But it was perfection.

The most amazing thing about perfection is how it’s a snapshot in time. No one is going to achieve perfection over the course of a season. No batter is going to get a hit every time he’s at the plate, no pitcher is going to avoid giving up a hit during every outing. The reason that perfection appeals to us is because it happens so rarely.

Some of this sentiment also plays into the betrayal many have felt at the hands of various players who used PEDs. I still remember the summer when Sosa and McGwire were racing for the home run crown and how astounding it was to watch them rack up those totals. They made the extraordinary ordinary. And when Bonds came along and shattered those records, it almost became mundane. We came to expect these kinds of feats and now we’re disappointed by their absence, a problem similar to what swimming is now facing with the ban on many of the new suit technologies. No one wants to ride in coach after they’ve experienced first class.


But the perfect game stands out because it is one of those things that is still so rare. Clemens may have been juicing and he may have been a dominant pitcher but that never earned him perfection. Nolan Ryan threw seven no-hitters but none of them were perfect. But a guy like David Wells, all 250 plus pounds of him, managed to do it. 

Possibly the best part of Buehrle’s perfect game, though, is the time in which it came. This season has been marked so far by Manny’s suspension, A-Rod’s admission and several mediocre divisional races. It’s only fitting that the thing that takes our minds off of the mediocrity and failure……is perfection.



  1. devilabrit

    I agree Buehrle game was very good, and in the eyes of the baseball world a perfect game, but as you said in football perfect is really perfect, wouldn’t that mean for a pitcher to have a perfect game it would include 27 strike outs with no fly balls… just a thought….and gotta say think Manny’s suspension wasn’t anywhere near long enough….
    Outside the Phillies Looking In

  2. Kylie

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve said here. I love that perfection is indeed a snapshot. For example, Luke Scott might not hit a homer every at-bat, but whenever he does it’s a perfect swing hit to the perfect place taken at the perfect time. And in a world of drugs and cheaters, wholesome perfection is indeed refreshing.
    ♥ Kylie —

  3. crzblue2

    27 pitches! OMG!
    Now why do you think Manny’s suspension was not long enough? Why should it be longer? Just because he is Manny? Manny just LOVES to hit so this was just killing him. I was hurt when this happened and I thought I could not forgive him but he paid the price, apologized to everyone. Remember Manny is not the smartest player out there so he was dumb using whatever it was he was using that it was ilegal. He followed the rules established by MLB on the suspension

  4. redstatebluestate

    Al ain’t never gonna be perfect… I mean, when was the last time he ever responded to his commentors? Really. When?

  5. steve_t

    Totally agree. Baseball has been run through the mill the past few years because of the PED scandals. That’s why watching the HoF elections of Rice and Henderson, along with Buehrle’s perfect game have been so refreshing.

    Steve T.

  6. matttan7

    Pitching a perfect game is rare, I think it’s as rare as people going to the Moon. To date 18 pitchers pitched a perfect game and 12 people walked on the moon, with a total of 24 people orbiting the moon, just to give you an example of how hard it is to pitch a perfect game.

    Matthew Tang

  7. devilabrit

    emma – based on other suspensions for a lesser crime, if there is such a thing in the world of PED’s…. from all I read, not sure it was right or wrong, but it was a steroid for enhancing his game, nothing else…. others had been positive for illness resolving drugs that were approved by their team doctors, apparently not on the banned list, or the one the team had… but got a longer suspension.. i.e. Romero, it doesn’t help he seems to have a I’m above everyone attitude…thats as I saw it anyway, I could be wrong….
    Outside the Phillies Looking In

  8. indianslove

    It’s hard for me to admit, but you have a point. Mark DeRosa, I can actually see. Chris Perez has been great for us. ( Once he settled down & stopped trying to make a HUGE first impression ) But Garko? I dont know. All I can hope for is that the pitcher we got is a great one in the future, & just move on with everything.

  9. Elizabeth D.

    It’s so rare, and it’s so REAL as well. Like you said, Clemens juiced, but he didn’t achieve perfection. You have to be truly good. I enjoy the more simplistic aspect of baseball… without all the home runs, I actually like small ball. It brings me back to the natural aspect of the game, and I think it’s an important aspect to remember.

  10. ibleedpinstripes

    Nice thoughts, Al. It really is nice when we can all just sit back and see something like a perfect game. And moneyball is crazy. 27 pitches is impossible! Haha. I’d like to see another one this year – that would definitely be something!

    – Lisa

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