Humber Follow Up

 

Monday, April 23, 2012

So the once in a lifetime feat just happened a second time for a White Sox pitcher as Philip Humber threw the 21st Perfect Game in MLB history on Saturday.

 

Humber heard from Mayor Emanuel immediately following the game, and today, he received a congratulatory call from President Obama.  Commissioner Selig also sent along a congratulatory letter.  He was named American League Player of the Week today as well.  Tonight, Humber appears is part of the Top 10 list on The David Letterman Show.

 

If you didn’t catch all of the postgame reaction Saturday, here are Philip and manager Robin Ventura’s comments after the Perfecto.  Even two days later you can sense the joy, excitement and wonderment in Philip’s comments:

On the game:

“I wish I could tell you (what happened out there). It was something that was out of my control. I know God had a hand in it, and I’m thankful. The team played awesome. The first thing you want to do is get a win, and it was nice to have that last run there and have a four-run lead going into the ninth. A.J. (Pierzynski) did a great job. There were a couple great plays in the outfield. It was just awesome. I don’t know what Philip Humber is doing in this list, what my name is doing there, but I’m thankful it’s there.”

On what was going through his mind on the last pitch:

 “’Go get it. Throw him out.’ – That was it. I saw it get away from A.J. and I saw the umpire ring him up and that point, just a ton of emotions, a lot of joy, excitement and most of all gratitude. I’m just thankful for where I’m at. I’m thankful. That was awesome…what just took place was just awesome.”

On his nerves going into the ninth inning:

 

“Probably more than any of the other innings (my nerves were going). Once you get past the fifth you know what’s going on, but at that point there’s a slim chance that’s going to happen. But going into the ninth, you stand there on the mound and realize ‘I’m standing here on the mound in the ninth inning with the chance to throw a perfect game.’ – I can’t lie; I know I was thinking that. I overthrew a couple of pitches to start the leadoff hitter but I’m just thankful I was able to get back in the count there.  A ton of credit goes to A.J. because he knew just what to call today; he kept them off balance all day. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I had great stuff up until maybe the sixth or seventh inning when I felt like the ball was starting to come out of my hand a little better. A.J. and I have worked well together since I’ve been here and a lot of credit goes to him.”

On rating his “stuff”:

 “I don’t really rate it on swings and misses and stuff like that. I more rate it on how I feel like I’m getting out there, the ball coming out of my hand with some life on it. Like I said, I felt like I was maybe rushing a little bit at the beginning, but I was able to slow myself down a little bit and had a lot  more life on the ball at the end of the game.”

On the journey over this past year and a half to where he is now:

“It’s not me, it’s really not. I’ve said it a lot, but it’s God, it’s just timing. I’ve worked as hard as I’m working now my whole career, but before it used to be about me and now it’s not. I’m just thankful for where I’m at – put it that way.”

On what he was thinking on the last pitch:

“Well, that it’s way outside for one thing. Hopefully that it doesn’t go to the backstop. Really, it’s hard to say, I was just trying to make a good pitch. I felt like I jerked it a little bit, but in a situation like that guys are anxious. I’ve been in the dugout when a team’s getting no-hit and the batters tend to get a little more anxious when they get deeper the game like that and so you get some swings at some pitches you might not normally get swings at. “

On if he threw a slider:

“Yes, that was a slider.”

On if he’s ever thrown a perfect game before in his life:

“I have no idea, but maybe back in youth baseball or something like that, but nothing even close to something like this.”

 

On the effects of short rest between some innings:

“It was nice because it doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to think. After my last start, and Robin (Ventura) can tell you, that was a rollercoaster start to watch. I was in and out of the strike zone and walking guys. Today what I wanted to concentrate on was throwing first-pitch strikes, getting the first guy out every inning and just keeping it simple. Those innings there, they seemed to be a little more aggressive in the count, mis-hit some balls and it made for some easy outs.”

On his thoughts during the 3-0 count to the last batter:

 “Throw a strike. Get it over the plate somehow. That would be the last way that I would want to lose it. You want to go out with your best stuff over the plate and challenge guys. I definitely wanted to get back in the zone there. A.J. stayed with me the whole game and he makes you feel very comfortable as a pitcher, and I’m thankful to have a catcher like that.”

On his demeanor in the dugout:

 

“Yeah, I don’t believe in superstitions or anything like that so when guys were getting hits or scoring runs I was shaking their hands. When they’d make plays in the field I was telling them ‘Great job’. I don’t like to be isolated like that. I like to stay in the game, be relaxed and be a teammate regardless of if I’m pitching or not, it makes it more fun that way.”

Robin Ventura:

On when the subject of a perfect game came up between the coaches:

“I don’t think it was really that way, I think it was just the way he was pitching. You look at the game and instead of it being about a perfect game you’re talking about him winning it or if he’s going to finish it, whether he’s going to give up a hit or a walk or whatever. You’re kind of going through the scenarios of looking at their lineup. Once we got the fourth run it was pretty much his and he was pitching well enough unless the moment happens that he gets into trouble, but he was kind of cruising. He was going through, making pitches all day long and he had a couple innings there where he had quick pop-ups, one-pitch pop-ups. You look up and he’s thrown 68 pitches so there goes that, using a pitch count. So no, there wasn’t really any (conversation about the perfect game). I still haven’t talked to him – I just have that superstition – so I was staying away from him.”

Philip on if he felt they couldn’t get solid contact on the ball:

 “I thought Seager hit a ball, an 0-2 pitch where I threw a good curveball down and away, and he put a good swing on it but Lilli(bridge) ran it down. They got a lot of left-handed hitters and I think that’s my reputation around the league is to stack your lineup with lefties. I was just trying to concentrate more on when I threw a slider down and in, to throw it down and in. But like that one (with Seager) I left up a little bit and he put a good swing on it. There were a couple different ones – the ball that was hit to Rios, I can’t remember who hit that ball, but they squared it up to right field and he made a nice catch on that. For the most part, I was not thinking about any of that. I was just happy that they were making plays and keeping us in the lead more than thinking about a great play that saved my no-hitter or perfect game or something like that.”

On the amount of foul balls hit and if that was an indication of anything specific:

 “We threw a lot of breaking balls, a lot of sliders, so when you throw those and they’re not down out of the zone you’ll get swings and misses. If they’re in the zone, normally a breaking ball is going to be a fly ball, some type of pop-up or something like that, whereas a changeup or a fastball has more of a chance of being on the ground. They just happen to be hitting those balls in play.”

On what it was like to have the visiting fans cheering for him:

“Honestly, I didn’t hear them. I didn’t hear them until after the game when all of them got up and gave me an ovation. I didn’t really hear them. You could hear the noise but I wasn’t sure if they were cheering for me or for the guy, whomever I was assuming they were cheering for on their team.”

On his shift and change in mindset as a player:

“I worked hard at my craft and I wanted that work to pay off so that I would be validated. My identity was a baseball player. My whole evaluation of myself was my stat line so if my stat line was great I felt good about myself and if it wasn’t then I didn’t feel so good. It took me a long time to figure it out that it’s not about me or us. Whatever we’re doing we should be doing it to glorify God and that’s a whole lot better way to live because you know that when he’s in control then you can just be thankful for what’s happening. I’m not saying that I’m always going to be successful because of the attitude I have on the field and I’m not always going to have good games, but I will be a joyful person because of where my heart is.”

On if there was a temptation to throw Brendan Ryan another fastball on 2-2:

“The way that at-bat went we did throw him a fastball there and he fouled it off, but my slider was good today and I felt like I could command it. Obviously, I didn’t throw a great one right there, but just knowing the situation and knowing that they’re going to be a little bit more anxious in that situation I think a breaking ball is probably a better pitch right there.”

Robin: On if he wants another rainout when Humber’s scheduled to start next time:

“That was (Pitching Coach Don) Cooper’s fault. He showed us. He’s about right where he should be pitch-count wise.”

Humber on if there was any doubt that Pierzynski saw the ball after it got by him:

 “I knew he saw it and I saw that the batter obviously didn’t think he swung so he was standing there talking to the umpire, so I knew that as long as A.J. didn’t trip over himself or something bad like that, that he just had to play catch with Paulie (Konerko). The rest of it was kind of a blur. I felt (Jake) Peavy on my back and I was like, ‘Let me up’ because I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I skinned my forehead on the ground there when everyone knocked me down. It was just so happy hearing all your teammates excited. That was probably the best part of it just seeing all my teammates so excited.”

On whom his first call was to after the game:

“I’ve already called my wife and my mom’s there with her. I just wanted to make sure she didn’t give birth while I was pitching. I called my dad. I’ve got last I looked 50 texts messages and there’s no telling how many missed calls so I’ll spend the next couple of days getting back to people. There are a lot of friends and a lot of family and a lot of people that I need to thank and share this moment with because there’s been a lot of people that have helped me along the way.”

On if he tweeted about the game yet:

 “I have not tweeted yet. I don’t tweet very often. I think my followers are about pretty disappointed with that. Maybe I’ll tweet something later.”

On where this moment ranks in his life:

 “I don’t know. It’s about sixth, seventh somewhere in there? I’d say as far as baseball goes it’s at the top. Hopefully there’s more to come. I think something that would be even better would be World Series Championship. The individual thing is nice and the team is a part of it, but at the same time when you can do something like that as a team it’ll be even better.”

On his wife’s due date and where she is at:

 “May 8 but he’s ready to go though. She’s in Chicago right now.”

On if he can wrap his head around this:

 “I saw it. I glanced at the TV in the clubhouse and like I said earlier I don’t know what my name is doing on that list, it’s just so humbling. I’m just so thankful and it’s an awesome feeling. People are telling you, ‘I got to get this for the Hall of Fame’ and send stuff to the Hall of Fame – I’ve been there and seen the stuff that’s there. To think that something of mine is going to be there is pretty awesome and I don’t know what to say about it.”

On if he knows the ratio of fastballs to sliders:

 “No idea. Usually I throw more off-speed than fastballs. Our go-to pitch today was definitely a slider and we got a lot of outs on that. Yeah, I don’t know the ratio I’ll have to look at that.”

On if he has a message for the troops:

 “Thankful for what they do. This is small compared to anything that goes on in their lives. I’m just thankful that there are people out there protecting our freedom and giving us an opportunity to go out there and entertain people and not have to worry about our safety. I’m just thankful for that.”

8 Comments

So Humberlieveable! I love it. I am happy to hear all his comments and he truly is one of the good guys.

Thanks Scott for keeping us all in on the inside scoop!

Amazing! Watched every pitch and was so anxious the final inning. Couldn’t sit. Feel very luck to be a Sox fan. Two small things would have made it better..If they were at home and if Hawk got to make the call =)

I’m with you there, Dawn, on wishing Hawk had made the call. I didn’t see the game, but watching the video of all 27 outs, I know that I too probably would have been going crazy. I would have been shouting at the announcers for mentioning it the whole time. It’s one thing for the pitcher not to go along with the superstition, but the announcers don’t need to shout it out all game long. Sorry if that’s a little rant-y.

Anyway, congrats to Humberfect on such a huge accomplishment. Nice to know that we have such humble guys on the team that realize it was a complete team effort. That pile-up at the end of the game was a great sight!

What an incredible outing. How lucky are we to have seen 2 perfect games in our lifetime by Sox pitching? Incredible!

I was out of the viewing area for Fox, but luckily I was at a sports bar celebrating a friend’s birthday at the time. I occasionally caught glances of the score and my thoughts progressed from “good, we’re winning” to “wait, he’s got a no-hitter going” to “no wait, a PERFECT game going!” I still couldn’t see the game, but I was glued to the updates at the bottom of the screen constantly. Finally, the Fox broadcast switched over in the 9th and I was shaking nervously with every pitch. When the ball got by AJ, I first tought that Ryan was going to reach base, but as AJ hurried after it and threw it to Paulie, I threw my hands up in excitement just as I did back in 2009. In fact, the entire bar, which is nowhere close to having any significant White Sox following, erupted in cheers and applause. Just goes to show how this wonderful game connects people. Congrats Humber! It couldn’t happen to a classier guy.

I can’t add anything that you all haven’t already said, so I’ll just say; thanks Phil for an incredible performance and for keeping your focus on team instead of self. Very refreshing and succinct…..j.k.

Congrats and thanks to Philip Humber! My question is, since MLB-TV blacked the game out, is there anywhere I can see a replay of it?

Nice that the Sox won behind a superb performance by Peavy tonight in Oakland. Let’s keep the winning streak going! ….Peggy

He usually drops in at my place on his way home.I meet the boss himself.I’m very proud of you.Betty and Susan are talking on the telephone.I’m your lucky fellow then.It is tomorrow that they will have a meeting.It is tomorrow that they will have a meeting.What’s wrong with you? I went there three days ago.She likes Mike a lot, but she doesn’t want to get married so early.

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