On the final pitch of Humber's perfecto

On the final pitch of Humber's perfecto
April 22, 2012, 4:43 pm
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Brendan Ryan swung. That's what the record books will indicate for as long as baseball is around. Brendan Ryan swung at Philip Humber's 3-2 slider, and when A.J. Pierzynski's throw hit Paul Konerko's mitt, Philip Humber had the 21st perfect game in MLB history.

But watch the pitch again. In fact, you probably don't have to do that -- even in the madness of the final out, it was clear Ryan attempted to check his swing on a pitch well out of the strike zone.

Had Ryan ran, he probably would've reached first base, thus breaking up the perfect game. Humber very well may have still thrown a no-hitter, which still would've been a fantastic accomplishment -- but one that would've had a damper put on it by losing a perfect game after 26 outs.

Instead, Ryan snapped at home plate umpire Brian Runge, allowing Pierzynski enough time to pounce on the ball that had trickled about halfway to the backstop and throw to Konerko at first.

So that was the first thing Ryan did wrong. He runs, we're talking about a no-hitter at best. But he didn't run.

And furthermore, what was Ryan even doing attempting a swing at that pitch? Yeah, it was about as nerve-wracking of a sequence as you can have in an otherwise-meaningless regular season game. But seriously, look where the seventh pitch was (via Brooks Baseball):

It wasn't like Humber's slider started near the outside corner and broke low and away. The pitch starter low and away and broke even further low and away. Ryan's plan on 3-2 was to swing at anything and 1) hope he made good contact or 2) check his swing. There was no way Ryan was taking a walk.

Ryan was in a position a miniscule percentage of major-league players have ever been in, though. Only 21 players in baseball history have ever made the final out of a perfect game. I'm not here to question Ryan's methods, because the fact he was still able to stand is, quite frankly, impressive.

But still, Ryan offered at it. Whether he swung may be a matter of debate. But regardless, Humber is in the record books, and nothing can take him out of it.