Umpire behind plate for second perfect game
Major league pitchers are going to start demanding Ted Barrett
for their starts.
Not necessarily for his mastery of the strike zone. Simply
because he’s a good luck charm with a mask.
Barrett was behind the plate Wednesday night when San Francisco
Giants’ right-hander Matt Cain pitched a perfect game against the
Houston Astros in a 10-0 victory. He also was the home plate umpire
when David Cone threw his perfect game for the New York Yankees in
a 6-0 win over the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999. It makes
Barrett the first major league umpire to call balls and strikes for
two perfect games.
And if pitchers ask for Barrett, they might want Brian Runge as
Runge, who was at third base for Cain’s gem, was behind the
plate when six Seattle pitchers combined for a 1-0 no-hit win over
the Los Angeles Dodgers last week and for Philip Humber’s perfect
game for the Chicago White Sox against the Mariners on April
Barrett said experience has shown him when he might be a witness
to baseball history.
”As the game goes on, you look up on the board, you see zero
hits and you see the guy’s facing the minimum and you know he’s
throwing the ball pretty well, locating his spots,” Barrett said.
”And so, there’s been a lot of times I’ve thought `This guy, he
could be unhittable tonight.”’
Cain was in that place, according to Barrett. It was in contrast
to Cone’s effort.
”Cone had the big, big back-door breaking ball. Turns out none
of them had ever faced Cone before, so they were a little more
baffled by Cone’s stuff,” Barrett said. ”With Cain throwing the
ball where he wanted to, location was awesome.”
It was no surprise that Cain sat by himself in the Giants’
dugout as he approached his historic moment. That’s just baseball
superstition. Turns out, Runge didn’t want to tempt fate,
”The third base coach for Houston made a comment and I didn’t
even acknowledge it,” Runge said. ”He came out and said `We’re
going to break it up this inning.’ I think it was the seventh.
”Then, in the eighth, (third baseman Chris) Johnson came out
and I could tell he wanted to say something. He gave me a look and
I just kind of looked away because I didn’t want no part of anybody
Then Runge had to deal with his own feelings. Though he claims
not to be superstitious, Runge found he was contradicting
” … For the last five innings, I went to the exact same spot
in between innings and stood. I didn’t spit my gum out. I go
through a lot of gum, normally,” he said. ”I guess I don’t
believe myself. I was just a big fan myself down there.”