Let's start today's festivities with a shout-out to David Wells on the 15th anniversary of his perfect game, which remains the best sporting event I've ever attended. Keeping with an annual blog tradition, the excerpt below is from my post on the 10th anniversary of the game.
... it (also) represented what I love most about baseball - you never know when something great is going to happen, or who's going to make it happen. In basketball, if someone is going to have an all-time game, you know it's going to be someone like Kobe or LeBron or D-Wade. In football, the Giants recently pulled a shocker, but it was the Super Bowl - it's supposed to be exciting.
Wells' gem came on a random Sunday afternoon against the Twins. My friend Cogs and his fiancee (now wife) Monica were going to be in town for my cousin's wedding the day before, and he had asked me to pick up tickets. The three of us, along with our friend J.D., got to the game a little late, expecting to sit down for a few beers on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. In the fourth inning, we knew Wells hadn't allowed any hits, and we asked the guy in front of us if he had walked anyone. He turned to us with a grin and said, "Nope."
After that, I felt like I was watching the best suspense thriller ever made - it kept building and building and building. After every out, we'd look at each other but not say anything, because we weren't going to be the ones to jinx it. By the eighth inning, I watched a few pitches while mostly covering my eyes. I honestly can't imagine a sporting event - or any other form of entertainment, for that matter - being so exhiliarating. Whenever I see Wells criticized for being a drunk or a lout, I smile and remember the history I witnessed thanks to him.
One more note: Cogs lived in San Francisco for awhile. Being such a big fan, he kept the game ticket in his wallet (and probably still does). A few years after the game, a friend of his happened to be on a work visit to Macy's in Union Square and spotted Wells. He called Cogs, who tore out of his office and got to Macy's within minutes. Out of breath, Cogs found Wells and asked him to sign the ticket. Wells looked at the ticket before signing and said, "You really carry this thing around with you?"
First pitch: The Mets and Cubs get National League action underway at 2:20 p.m. ET, while there are three AL games at 7:05. Also, please note that Saturday's MLB ON FOX coverage begins at 3:30, leading into Rays-O's, White Sox-Angels and Reds-Phillies.
Interleague DH issues: The Astros visit the Pirates, leaving many candidates for the bench this weekend thanks to Chris Carter's versatility. Carlos Pena figures to sit Sunday against lefty Jeff Locke, but Friday/Saturday are up in the air.
Streaming starters: Another strong outing from Marlins' rookie Jose Fernandez raised our record to 27-16. The weekend selections are Ubaldo Jimenez (owned in 12.8 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) versus the Mariners tonight, Brandon McCarthy (6.4 percent owned) against the Marlins on Saturday, and Miami's Ricky Nolasco (2.3 percent owned) in his Sunday matchup with the D-backs.
On to the news:
- Rays SP David Price (triceps) is on the DL, but is only expected to miss two or three starts. The Rays haven't decided who will take Price's rotation slot starting on Monday, but Jake Odorizzi appears to be the favorite.
- In other Rays' news, closer Fernando Rodney walked four batters while blowing Thursday's game against the Red Sox. Rodney has walked 15 batters in 15 1/3 innings, matching his walk total for all of 2012. The Rays haven't said anything about a change, but you might want to start speculating on Joel Peralta.
- Andy Pettitte left last night's game during the fifth inning with back issues, and the Yankees are hoping it was just a spasm. Stay tuned.
- The Red Sox are targeting a Monday return from the DL for Andrew Bailey, who will reclaim his closer role upon activation. Thanks for your service, Junichi Tazawa. You haven't saved any games yet, but maybe you will this weekend. And if Bailey gets hurt again, fantasy owners may need you again later this season.
- The Rangers are hoping to get A.J. Pierzynski off the DL on Tuesday.
- Diamondbacks OF Adam Eaton had two hits and stole two bases in his minor-league rehab game last night. Eaton is owned in 7.5 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, and could be a week or so away from activation. Time to stash, folks.
- The Justin Verlander-Yu Darvish matchup didn't live up to any of the hype, huh?
- Reds OF Chris Heisey re-injured his hamstring in a rehab game earlier this week, and will be out awhile longer.
- Rockies SP Jeff Francis is on the DL with a strained groin.
- Royals OF Jarrod Dyson (ankle) is probably headed to the DL.
- Still trying to suck us in, eh, Francisco Liriano? I've been down this road a time or seven before, and it's not gonna work any more.
- Nats' news: Jayson Werth's return has been delayed a bit, and Ross Detwiler's back will cause him to miss at least one start, with more details TBD.
- Welcome back, Jason Heyward!
See you back here Monday morning.