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Randy Johnson's Perfect Game: The Tweetening

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It was 14 years ago today. To celebrate the event, here's the full video (it has the Braves feed, unfortunately), and below you'll find an annotated version of some of the comments Randy Johnson Tweeted out, during the re-broadcast of the event this afternoon on Fox Sports Arizona.

I went and got a haircut the day of Randy Johnson's perfect game, but was still able to follow the game: there was a Sport Clips near SnakePit Towers, so got to see the early going there. By the time I got out, it was clear there was something potentially momentous in the pipeline, so headed back home to take in the rest of the game. Before we get to the game itself, here's an interesting graphics with other actions and reactions to the Big Unit's perfecto.

And now, it's over to Casa Johnson for The Perfecting...

Nice entertainment center. :)

That makes sense. Things like no-hitters almost always seem to sneak up on their owners unannounced. I don't think I've ever heard a pitcher say, "Yeah, I was sure from when I was throwing in the bullpen, today was the day!"

Fun fact about RJ fielding. Did you know Randy Johnson played in left-field once? It came when he was with the Mariners, in the final game of the 1993 season. According to Lou Piniella, "He wanted to play first base, but [current D-backs hitting coach!] Dave Magadan was due up in the top of the ninth. So I told him to grab a glove and head out to left field." He didn't have to make a play: "I was hoping I’d get to go back to the wall and take a home run away from somebody, just like Junior," Johnson said.

This wasn't RJ's first complete-game shutout of the season. In his third appearance, on April 16, he had two-hit the Padres for his first victory, the Diamondbacks winning 5-0. He also tossed a complete-game on July 4 against the Twins, a 6-2 win.

It's interesting how perfect games are usually tight. Obviously, one side doesn't score, but of the nine perfectos in National League history, only three were won by more than two runs.

Actually, 11 pitches. Estrada certainly battled harder than anyone else, seeing a total of 22 pitches over his three plate-appearances. But there was only one first-pitch out, and a pair that took two pitches.

I guess this shows RJ is not exactly like Derek Jeter [link NSFW]. In case you hadn't already worked THAT out...

RJ threw a total of 117 pitches, 87 for strikes. That's a 74.3% strike rate, and is still the most strikes recorded as having been thrown in any perfect game.

That's one of the things which I always notice when watching old games - the lack of peripheral information. Well, that and how incredibly non-HD broadcasts apparently were in those days!

I've never been to a perfect game or no-hitter in person. Not even close. I'm not sure what I'd do if an opposing pitcher came in and took one into those later innings. I'd probably still be cheering for one of our hitters to break it up. Sure, it's a memorable event, but so is being present at Kennedy's assassination. Being memorable doesn't make it necessarily a good thing!

It seems perfect games and no-hitters usually tend to have one play like the above, which could easily have become a hit. The later these are, the more pivotal they seem. Here's a compilation video of these.

The first rule of Perfect Game Club is, you don't talk about Perfect Game Club... Though, that said:

Lucky, Gracie. Very, very lucky...

Randy Johnson was a career .125 hitter, and had an OPS+ of -22. Among the 4,441 major-league players since the 19th century with at least 600 PA, his OPS+ ranks 4,428th. I'm fine with Bob Brenly's decision. :)

I can't imagine the pressure at that point. I know the studies say "there's no such thing as clutch", but I would be completely reduced to a mental puddle on the mound. This is why I am not a professional athlete. Actually, one of quite a few reasons. Collect the set!

#AchievementUnlocked.

It remains one of the most memorable days in Diamondbacks history. Many franchises' fans will never get to see one of their pitchers throw a perfect game - the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates, for instance, are still waiting for their first, despite having been charter members of the National League in 1900. Who knows when we will see its like again?