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April 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM

The day after: Philip Humber reflects on his perfecto, with thoughts from Brendan Ryan, Eric Wedge

Here are today’s lineups:
White Sox
Brent Lillibridge LF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Adam Dunn 1B
Paul Konerko DH
A.J. Pierzysnski C
Alex Rios RF
Kosuke Fukudome CF
Brent Morel 3B
Gordon Beckham 2B
John Danks LHP
Chone Figgins CF
Dustin Ackley 2B
Ichiro RF
Jesus Montero DH
Alex Liddi 1B
Kyle Seager 3B
Miguel Olivo C
Casper Wells LF
Brendan Ryan SS
Kevin Millwood RHP
Paul Konerko was lounging on a couch in the White Sox clubhouse this morning when he turned to Philip Humber, who was dressing quietly at his locker.
“Just think, Philip,” he said. “Yesterday, you were sitting here getting ready for the game. Today, you’re going to have a display in the Hall of Fame.”

A few minutes later, Humber addressed a small contingent of media — two writers from Chicago, two from Seattle — and talked about the game that will change his life. He seems like a humble guy who won’t let the perfect game overwhelm him.
“I was excited, but today I want to get back to work and get ready for my next start,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a great moment, and I want to enjoy it. But as a team, we still have a lot of things we want to accomplish and I want to be a big part of that through the course of the whole season.”
He said he spent the early part of the evening texting back and forth with friends and family.
“I didn”t get to call as many people as I’d have liked, but I got to text most everybody and let them know I got their message and I appreciated it,” he said. “There was a lot of people I hadn’t heard from in a long time, that I wanted to hear from and maybe I didn’t have their number. Somehow, they were able to get in touch with me and be a part of it. It ws fun to be able to share it with people who had impacted mhy life and career.”
One of the calls was from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Mayor Emanuel called me and wanted to congratulate me. He was really excited. I had never talked to him before, but he sounded like he was really excited. That was neat. I was definitely honored by it.”
As for President Obama, a White Sox fan, “Nothing yet,” Humber laughed. “I don’t know if he knows I’m a registered Republican or what.”
He added, “Just a lot of people wanted to call and say it couldn’t happen to a better guy. A lot of people said I deserved it, and that was the one thing I’m not comfortable with. I don’t think I deserved it. But it makes me feel good people are genuinely happy for me. That’s probably best part.”
Humber said he joined about half the White Sox team for dinner at a sports bar, where they watched UFC fights.
“I’m not really into that, but a lot of guys are into that,” he said. “It was fun to be around the rest of tthe eam. Everyone was excited. It wasn’t just me. It wasn’t an individual thing. The whole team was excited to be part of it, so I wanted to definitely share that night, reminisce and talk about it. Now there’s another game today. You only get one chance to relive it.”
I asked Humber if he had seen a replay of Brendan Ryan’s checked swing on the strikeout that ended the game.
“Yeah, I saw the last play. You know what, it was a close call. Obviously, any checked swing is a close call. It looked like the batter didn’t think he went, but they usually don’t. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention, other than, get the ball and throw to first. I don’t know what to say about that. The umpire thought he went, he rung him up, and that’s it.”
Over in the Mariner clubhouse, Ryan still had his lip buttoned, mostly.
“I don’t want to get myself in trouble with the umpires, ever,” he said. “No matter how honest I would want to be, or not, it would only be bad for me. It’s one of those things I’m going to plead the fifth, and I’m not hiding that.”
Ryan did say that even if he had run straight to first after the ball got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski, he doesn’t think he would have reached first.
“I don’t think I had any chance,” he said. “I had committed to walking to first on the first two steps. When I heard he thought I did swing, which was no surprise, I will say that, he was already basically picking up the ball. In my opinion, watching it about 30,000 times yesterday, no chance. AJ got on it pretty quickly, and I didn’t even know it was back there. I was dead set on thinking I had just ruined it. So no, not even for a millisecond.”
What amazed Ryan, and still does, is that Pierzynski called, and Humber threw, a slider in that situation — 3-2 with a perfect game on the line.
“I cannot believe he threw a chase slider there,” Ryan said, incredulously. “I said it to Vargas 300 times last night, I can’t believe he threw that pitch. It’s a movie I’ll never see the ending to. I really would have loved to find out what would have happened if it was a strike. Because…well, no because. Dot dot dot.”
As for manager Eric Wedge, he said he didn’t sleep much last night.
“The only thing I could think about is what we could take from it….It doesn’t take anything away from the kid and the way he threw the ball yesterday. It was a historic day in the game of baseball. I don’t have all the answers right now, but we will figure this out. What he did yesterday was special. We’re going to find out sooner than later how our kids react to this. It’s going to help us figure out where we are that much sooner when something like this happens. When we all woke up yesterday, nobody in the world thought we were going to go to bed thinking about what we were thinking about. It happened, and now we’ve got to respond to it.
“I could sit here and lie to you and tell you I have it all figured out. But I’m in uncharted waters, and they all are too. But you know what? I’m not going to come in here with my head down. I’m not going to come in like some goddamned college rah rah coach. They’re grown men. They have to handle it like grown men. There’s nothing I can say, pro or con, that’s going to change that.
This is one of those moments. I’m not going to make it bigger than what it is, and I’m damn sure not going to lessen it, either. What they do and how they respond to it, we’re going to find out.”
Wedge said he still hasn’t seen a replay of the final swing.
“I didn’t turn the TV on last night, that’s the God’s honest truth,” he said. “I listened to a lot of music last night. It’s not important. I went out and brought Brendan back. What are you going to do? Bitch and moan about the last pitch of a perfect game when you’ve been really bad the whole game? I mean, come on. I’m not going to do that, and I’m damn sure not going to take away from that kid’s moment.”

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Jesus Montero


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