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Perfect game comes at perfect time

April 24, 2012|By Chris Sosa, RedEye

Thank the stars for Philip Humber.

If the baseball season in Chicago truly is going to be as coma-inducing as the prognosticators say it might be, we'll need to live off the White Sox pitcher's perfect game for a while.

I won't even mention how desperately we need a distraction from the Blackhawks' implosion. (Ugh, my bad!)

Not that it's difficult to bask in Humber's masterpiece. The perfect game—and the no-hitter to a slightly diminished degree—is unmatched in individual, single-game achievement. Including Humber, only 21 players have set down all 27 hitters they've faced in one game.

The tension becomes more excruciating with each inning, and as the final out nears, the crowd can taste history. That goes for opposing fans, too. Humber worked his magic on Seattle's home field, and Mariners fans—as is customary in baseball—were on their feet in the ninth inning. There's no chance they'll forget what Humber did Saturday.

Also consider that because of the way other sports are structured, they can't duplicate that kind of table-turning drama. What would it take for Bears fans to cheer Aaron Rodgers? Or for Boston Celtics die-hards to root for Kobe Bryant?

Such scenarios are barely conceivable. Even if they could be manufactured, they would fail to match the coup de gras: automatic Hall of Fame recognition. Yep, just like that, Humber goes from a hiccup on history's radar to quasi-immortal.

Save for a Bulls breakthrough, it could be a long sports summer in Chicago. And while you can oversell a lot of things—the Sox flirting with first in the AL Central, Jake Peavy pitching like a Cy Young front-runner or the Cubs being only a handful of games out of first—you cannot overhype a perfect game.

So if you haven't seen Humber's performance, find a way. Track down a friend who's got it on DVR. Beg the MLB Network to show a replay. Have co-workers re-enact the game with Legos (fast-forwarding through the commercials, of course).

It beats becoming a Phoenix Coyotes fan.

chsosa@tribune.com | @sayitissosa

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