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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Too Short For A Column


Take heart all you flammable pitchers across the major leagues, Travis Davis is on his way. And when Travis Davis shows up, things tend to go perfectly.

Ticket
You could call it the "perfect ticket" -- and Travis Davis has serious bragging rights.

There have been two perfect games thrown in the majors over the past 10 months -- Mark Buehrle's in Chicago and Dallas Braden's in Oakland -- and they only have two things in common: 1) both came against the normally pitch-murdering Tampa Bay Rays and 2) both were witnessed in person by Travis Davis, a 35-year-old software engineer from Santa Barbara, Calif.

In the history of modern major league baseball there have been only 19 perfect games and Travis Davis has now seen better than 10 percent of them. He owes it all to a well-thought out and intricate plan of attack he describes as "total random chance."

Travis and his buddies are incurable baseball fans who are on a lifetime quest to attend a game in every major league park. And that's how he ended up in the bleachers at U.S. Cellular Field on July 23, 2009, to witness Buehrle's perfecto. Well, most of it.

Davis missed the game's greatest moment -- Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise's perfect-game-saving catch.

"We saw him running after it, but we were in the bleachers so when he got to the wall we lost him," Davis said. "After that we had to depend on the crowd to tell us if he caught it. When we heard the cheer, we knew."

Perfecto No. 2 happened because Davis found himself in the Bay Area for a bachelor party. He and his friends had attended a beer festival earlier in the day and were looking for something to do. Apparently unfamiliar with the concept of a strip club, they decided to take in an A's game.

Ticket
Travis Davis is one lucky guy. Here's a ticket from another perfect game he witnessed.
"I was kinda excited by the fourth inning when I realized what was happening," he said. "After the sixth, I turned to a friend and said, 'Do you know what's going on?' He said, 'Yeah, no-hitter.' I said 'No dude, better than that.'"

Davis says friends now beg to go to games with him. He also says he's open to being hired by any team -- the Yankees always seem to have a lot of discretionary cash -- to follow the Rays around the country and "doom their season."

So you might want to be on the lookout for a guy in his 30s, average height, brown hair, sideburns and, as he describes it, "a racing stripe from my bottom lip to just under my chin."

Yeah, a racing stripe.

Nobody's perfect.

See all of Rick Reilly's Too Short for a Column. More random mind dumps from the brain of Rick Reilly. Go fish! Be sure to check out Rick's Life of Reilly.