Times Topics: Barack Obama

 

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n the wake of Yu Darvish losing his perfect game with two outs in the final inning this Tuesday, let's look back at some of the best "So close!" moments in baseball perfect game history.

Harvey Haddix: In perhaps the most epic near-perfect game ever, Haddix managed to go 12 innings, retiring every batter he faced - he got nine extra outs! - in a 1959 game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Unfortunately for him, Brewers' pitcher Lew Burdette was keeping his Pittsburgh Pirates scoreless.By definition, the pitcher must get the win to throw a perfect game. In the 13th inning - yes, he was still pitching - an error ended the perfect game bid. Even more unfortunately for Haddix, he wound up not only losing the perfect game, but the no-hitter and the game itself.

Pedro Martinez: While on the Montreal Expos, Martinez did something very similar in a 1995 start against the San Diego Padres: He faced 27 hitters and got all 27 out in a row. Like Haddix, however, his team did not score either, so the game went into extras where Martinez gave up a double to lead off the 10th.

Milt Pappas: During a late-season matchup while with the Chicago Cubs in 1972, Pappas had a perfect game with only one out to go in the ninth. He had two strikes on the hitter but was apparently squeezed by home plate umpire Bruce Froemming on two consecutive pitches, resulting in a walk and loss of the perfect game. Pappas easily retired the next batter to complete the no-hitter, but the no-no would remain an opportunity lost for Pappas. Froemming and Pappas even had it out live on a talk radio show 20-something years later.

Armando Galarraga: Galarraga is someone who knows what it means to be short-sided by an umpire's call. On Jun. 2, 2012 against the Cleveland Indians, he was one out away when a ground ball was hit to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Covering first to receive the throw, Galarraga simultaneously caught the ball and touched the base a full step before the runner, but umpire Jim Joyce called him safe.

Galarraga went on to retire the next batter, but unlike Pappas, he did not have a no-hitter to fall back on, since the play at first was by definition an infield single. The blown call thus removed Galarraga from either revered list. Joyce has since bravely admitted his missed call tearfully saying, "I just cost the kid a perfect game." Galarraga has publically forgiven Joyce.

Mike Mussina: Throughout his career, Mussina gained the reputation as a tough-luck pitcher. He took a perfect game into the ninth inning twice in four years. While with the Baltimore Orioles in 1997, he needed just two more outs, but a single followed by two strikeouts meant he would have to settle with a complete game shutout. In 2001, with the Yankees, he retired the first 26 batters faced in a game against the rival Red Sox, only to give up a bloop-single to pinch-hitter Carl Everett before recording the final out for the shutout win.

Hooks Wiltse: In 1908, with one out to go in the ninth, poor Hooks ruined his perfect game by hitting, of all people, the opposing team's pitcher. A tough one to swallow.

This list is by no means exhaustive. If Yu Darvish-ing for more, take a look at the long list of players who just missed out on the perfect game: Brian Holman, Dave Stieb, Ron Robinson, Tommy Bridges, Billy Pierce, Milt Wilcox and Ernie Shore.

 

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G.J Vitale is a junior majoring in biology-psychology and English. He can be reached at Gregory.Vitale@tufts.edu.

“Anyone still standing in the way of this bipartisan reform should at least explain why,” Mr. Obama said to repeated applause in the East Room. “If House Republicans have new and different additional ideas for how we should move forward, then we should hear them. I will be listening.”

The Senate passed legislation in June by a vote of 68-32, giving a lift to Mr. Obama’s plans to improve border security, require employers to verify the immigration status of their workers, and provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. White House strategists hoped that the vote would prompt action in the House, where Republicans had resisted similar calls for an overhaul of the system.

But the effort stalled this summer, with many House Republicans expressing dissatisfaction with the increases in border security and saying they do not support any plan that would allow people in the country illegally to eventually become citizens.

Mr. Obama’s remarks on Thursday were aimed at rebooting the discussion after months in which attention shifted to concerns about Iran and Syria and contentious disputes at home with the House Republicans that led to a government shutdown.

“That’s no reason that we shouldn’t be able to work together on the things that we do agree on,” Mr. Obama said as he urged the House to take up the immigration issue. “It’s good for our economy. It’s good for our national security. It’s good for our people. And we should do it this year.”

House Republicans have said they want to pursue an immigration overhaul in a step-by-step manner, addressing different aspects of the issue with smaller, individual bills. Some have indicated, for example, that they support granting citizenship for immigrants who were brought to America as small children and grew up here.

Mr. Obama said passage of legislation to address all the issues would help the nation’s economy and allow millions of immigrants to emerge from “the shadows” and live their lives without fear of being sent back to their native countries.

But even as he urged the activists to keep up the fight in the days and weeks ahead, Mr. Obama expressed a bit of pessimism about the likelihood that Congress will soon pass legislation that he can sign.

“Just because something is smart and fair and good for the economy and fiscally responsible and supported by business and labor and the evangelical community and many Democrats and many Republicans, that does not mean that it will actually get done,” he said. “This is Washington after all.”


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