San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) celebrates after throwing a perfect game against the Houston Astros at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE
Deciding this is a tradition around these parts. In 2009, I listed 50 awesome things about Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter, and I'm glad I did. It's a good way to catalog the minutia of the game that you'll forget over time.
So allow me to present 50 awesome things about the Matt Cain perfect game. I'm sure I missed a bunch, so feel free to add your own. Matt Cain threw a perfect game. Just amazing to type. Matt Cain threw a perfect game.
1. That it was Matt Cain. I covered that in the post-game thread, but it has to lead this off. I've never rooted harder for an individual accomplishment in my life. The perfect Giant for something like this.
2. Gregor Blanco's catch. Of course. It wouldn't be a perfect game without a crazy, mind-erasing catch. You'll watch that one for the next 50 years.
3. Joaquin Arias's reverse crow-hop backwards on the last out. It made you swallow your tongue for a split-second, which all last outs should.
4. The strikeouts. Matt Cain struck out over half of the hitters he faced.
5. The fastball. Sitting at 92. Ramping up to 94. Movement. Placed perfectly most of the time.
6. The changeup. When Cain can get that thing sailing against left-handed hitters, my stomach feels funny.
7. Of course Matt Cain gets the most run support in the history of perfect games. You think you're hilarious, universe. And the worst part is, you're right a lot of the time.
8. The game that Buster Posey called.
9. That Buster Posey is healthy enough to catch a nine-inning baseball game without us thinking too much of it. Just the normal ol' Buster.
10. That it was at home. That was the only quibble with the championship run -- all of the clinching games were on the road.
11. The bear hug that Cain gave Blanco after the post-game pile cleared a bit.
12. Staring at the line score until your eyes blur.
13. That someone brought out a lone cup filled with blue mystery juice onto the post-game pile and started throwing it around. I think it was wiper fluid. My first guess: Romo.
14. Thinking about Mike Scott, at home alone, scuffing his coffee table because he's bored and fighting off a little indigestion.
15. That Cain was driving golf balls into the Bay before the game.
16. Thinking about how there was a passage in Moneyball that laughed at the teams drafting high-school pitchers in the first round of the 2002 draft.
17. The look that Cain gave after Melky's catch of Chris Snyder's fly ball in the sixth. It was almost childlike. Cain was goofily enthusiastic about the Blanco catch, too. But the first time you could see how much Cain wanted it was after Melky's catch.
18. There was a blimp hovering above the game, taking shots like this.
19. Thinking back to a great column about the opening of Pac Bell Park in 2000 -- I think it was Bruce Jenkins -- that read something like, "All we need now are the memories." Think about the last 12-plus seasons. I mean …
20. Duane Kuiper's call of the last out on TV. Just perfect.
21. Dave Fleming's call of the last out. "Arias stumbles … " Spoiled. We are so damned spoiled.
22. The first pitch to Jason Castro in the ninth inning. Perfectly placed. And when he got the call, you knew that Cain had everything in hand.
23. Thinking about 22 perfect games in the history of baseball. Lingering over the names and the dates. Realizing you just watched one, and that Matt Cain threw it. Looking at the names again.
24. There was a guy riding a jet pack, hovering over the Bay. I hope I wasn't the only one who saw him. You saw him too, right? Right, guys? Guys?
25. That this game happened in the era of 59 camera angles, high definition, and instant highlights that are beamed to your phone. And GIFs. Always the GIFs.
26. That Juan Uribe, who still holds a special place in my heart, wasn't within 500 miles of the stadium.
27. The look on Cain's face when he stood and stared at the fans after the game. I like the fists he makes as he processes everything.
28. The idea that Gregor Blanco was a minor-league free agent looking for an organization this winter, and now he's an inextricable part of Giants lore.
29. The sold-out crowd for an Astros game on a Wednesday night. I remember what it was like to be a vendor for a weeknight Expos game at Candlestick, where you offered the same damned Cracker Jacks to the same 2,000 people every 12 minutes.
30. The Dodgers lost.
31. That Aubrey Huff (I think) ate it jumping over the dugout railing. Someone had to. Glad it was the guy with a sense of humor.
32. The surprise when Cain was told that this was the first Giants perfect game ever. "Huh! Wow!" Christy Mathewson. Juan Marichal. Gaylord Perry. It's a long, rich history. And Matt Cain is the only one to throw a perfect game.
33. There wasn't some silly last-pitch check-swing controversy like the one in poor Philip Humber's game. It wouldn't have cheapened it -- it just would have been a speck of annoying on a perfect game.
34. That I was supposed to cover the golf brouhaha before the game, but I never received confirmation that I had credentials. I was supposed to be there. And I'm glad I wasn't, on the .0001-percent chance that my hot-dog wrapper flew onto the field and distracted Joaquin Arias in the ninth inning.
35. That I can trick myself into believing the above so I don't feel crippling pangs of regret.
36. The itinerary that came along with the invitation e-mail had this: "6 p.m. – Tour AT&T Park, Visit In-Stadium RocketBallz Simulator." That was the only reason I responded that I wanted to go. Seriously.
37. Thinking about Paul O'Neill opening a can of beans to eat in a dark room and cutting his thumb on the lid.
38. That this was the first Giants game without an error this season.
39. Matt Cain.
40. Kuiper's call of Blanco's catch
41. Fleming's call of Blanco's catch. So spoiled. Do you know what fans of other teams have to deal with?
42. The Spanish-language call of the catch, which is at the end of that same clip. New ring tone!
43. That my parents-in-law were there for no discernible reason. I'm not sure if they've ever been to a game at AT&T Park -- if they have, it's been a decade. And on a whim, they said, heck, let's just go to a game. Spur of the moment.
44. That MLB.com has the entire ninth inning up for a highlight.
45. The Posey/Cain embrace at the end of the game. There are 29 different Poseyless and Cainless teams in baseball. I feel like there should be a Sally Struthers commercial for them.
46. This video of the celebration in Finnerty's in New York.
48. Not worrying about how much this raised his offseason price in free agency. Matt Cain is on the Giants for a while.
49. That Gallo was there. Oh, god, how I love that Gallo was there.
50. That Matt Cain, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, retired 27 straight hitters in a baseball game.