Let’s talk about baseball and failure.
It’s a coach’s truism that baseball is a game defined by failure, after all. The best hitters trudge back to the dugout after an at-bat 65% of the time. The best pitchers are very, very likely to allow a base runner over the course of a nine-inning game.
How likely? Getting 27 outs in a row – three straight outs in each of nine innings, nobody reaches base in any way – is called a perfect game. That has happened just 23 times in Major League Baseball history, over about 220,000 games, each with two starting pitchers!
That makes the odds of a perfect game about 1 in 20,000.
Or one every 34 seasons. (They’ve increased somewhat in recent years, for unknown reasons.)
On Wednesday Los Angeles Dodgers star left-hander Clayton Kershaw walked away from a perfect game. Or more accurately, he was walked away – Dodgers manager David Roberts pulled Mr. Kershaw after seven perfect innings. He hadn’t thrown that many pitches. The relief pitcher quickly gave up a single.
Many fans were furious. But after the game the pitcher himself calmly accepted the move. He’s not fully in game shape yet, and he has a history of injuries. The Dodgers, with a chance to win the World Series, need him for the full season.
He had the resilience to rise above disappointment and see a fuller picture.
“I would have loved to have stayed,” he said to reporters after the game. “But bigger things, man, bigger things.”