It's one of the main reasons that I love baseball.
Baseball is about community.
Baseball has its stars, and they make the game incredibly interesting.
But, the journeymen and the rookies and the guys "called up" who play their part--they make it interesting, as well.
I know it's true in all team sports. But, well, baseball is just special and very different.
Take the game on Thursday, July 30 between the Chicago White Sox and visiting Tampa Bay at U. S. Cellular Field.
White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle entered the ninth inning with a perfect game--24 batters up, 24 batters down.
Entering the game in center field for the first time at the beginning of the ninth was unheralded Dewayne Wise, a player who had been around the major leagues for several years, but with not much success. The .200 hitter was accustomed to entering games in the late innings.
The first Tampa Bay batter in that last inning was former Texas Ranger Gabe Kapler.
Kapler hit a long, long drive to deep center field over the head of Wise. At the crack of the bat, Wise turned and ran toward the center field fence where he judged the ball would come down, if it didn't clear the fence.
Wise made a spectacular, leaping catch at the top of the wall. . .the first time he caught it. The ball game out of the top of his glove as both ball and player fell toward the ground. During the fall, Wise snagged the ball with his free hand, securing the first out of the last inning and helping preserve the no-hit, perfect game for his pitcher, Buehrle.
What a moment! What an effort!
Sports Illustrated reported that Buehrle's time on the mound during the game was just a little over 30 minutes. I suppose that's what happens when there are no base runners.
Dewayne Wise was in the game for a much shorter time. But his contribution made all the difference.