Few things make me cry. Sad movies won't do it — unless there are dying dogs involved.
It's usually the happy moments that get me choked up. Reunions are the worst culprit of my embarrassing man tears. Two other masseuses of my tear ducts: the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants. I'm too emotionally involved.
So Wednesday night, when I sat alone in my living room watching Matt Cain face just 27 batters, striking out 14, it was game over — not just for the Houston Astros, but for me. In retrospect, maybe it's a good thing I only had my dog around to witness my emotional reaction to men playing a game (perfectly). I'm not saying I needed tissues, but there was certainly some welling up of the ocular region.
There's a reason it's called a perfect game. There have been just 22 in over 140 years of baseball. That works out to about one every 11,000 games. Even if someone managed to watch 162 games per year every year (which is impossible), probability says they'd be lucky to see more than one perfect game every 68 years.
Maybe my jubilee was in part a redemptive moment. I'm convinced that missing big moments is written into my DNA. I have a knack for leaving the room every time the Giants hit a home run (an uncanny feat considering their anemic offense).
In the end of the 2010 season as the Giants were making a run at a playoff spot, and it wasn't clear who their NLDS opponent would be, I bought three Game 1 tickets for the Phillies first round series, in case the Giants ended up playing in Philadelphia. Living in Washington, DC at the time, it was my best option. Of course, they ended up facing Atlanta in the first round, not Philadelphia, so I sold my tickets. That night, Roy Halladay pitched the first playoff no-hitter since 1956 and I had a ticket. But I missed it.
But like I said, it's in my DNA. My great-great grandfather decided to immigrate to the U.S. from Lithuania in 1912. His ship of choice was called the RMS Titanic. Perhaps you've heard of it? By the grace of whomever (Matt Cain?) he lost his tickets. And I am alive today because of it. Hard to believe, but it's true.
Given my history with big moments, I'll take alone on the couch watching an unequivocally unreal pitching performance any day.
That moment after the game when Cain's wife ran into the dugout to congratulate her husband — remember what I said about reunions? Perfect.
Some people don't understand baseball. They say it's too slow. They can't reconcile that a beer-bellied pitcher is, in fact, an athlete. But baseball is beautiful. It is nuanced and complicated, painful and gut-twisting, inspiring and poetic. And every 11,000 games, baseball is perfect.