Thursday, June 14, 2012

We already knew Matt Cain was perfect

Ask a Giants fan what they think of Matt Cain, and you're likely to get grown men gushing about how great he is. You're likely to hear "hard worker", "he gets the job done and never complains", "he never lets his team down", "he earned that contract".

Matt Cain simply embodies the perfect baseball player-- pitcher or hitter.

It's not possible to be perfect all the time-- we all know that, but Matt Cain is as perfect as one can be-- even without his amazing feat against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, June 14th, 2012.

He flies under the radar too often, while flashier players like Tim Lincecum or East Coast players like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee steal the spotlight. That's okay with Matt Cain. He doesn't mind.

What makes Matt Cain the perfect ballplayer lies not in his achievement against the Astros, but in his work ethic, his humble nature, his nerves of steel, and his quiet strength-- the type of qualities all true leaders possess. 

There will never be a time where Cain's loyalty, effort, and heart are questioned in public forums like other Giants have been. You know what you're getting from him every time he touches the baseball-- even if he doesn't have his best start and the Giants lose the game. The same cannot be said for everyone.

There is a quiet confidence about him that does not require the accolades and attention of the modern prima donna athlete or celebrity-- a tribute to his upbringing and Southern roots. He's taken his God-given talents and honed them to a point where perfection was not out of the realm of possibility and evidently, achievable. 

As fans, we have fallen a little more in love with Matt Cain every year since he arrived so many years ago. We instantly saw that he was a real talent in his first few years and knew he'd be around for some time. However, it's the fact that he's literally gotten better every single year that is so mindbogglingly impressive. 

How many players consistently get better and more trustworthy by the year? Very few, but Matt Cain is one of those exceptions. Just when we thought we'd seen it all-- an amazing all-star 2010 season with an unholy ERA in the postseason en route to a World Series victory, he followed it up with another stellar 2011 and was rewarded with the richest right-handed contract in history.

Did he rest? Take a break? Exhale? No.
He buckled down even tighter and has helped keep this crazy team we love in the mix, even with glaring holes in the field and in the rotation.

Matt Cain's perfect game is the culmination and pinnacle of all his hard work and dedication. Although many other professionals in baseball or life may put in the same effort and passion, how many of them get to see the fruits of their labor manifested into a literally perfect performance? It's so incredibly rare, that you just have to stop and recognize its amazing beauty-- baseball fan or not.

A perfect game in baseball sometimes happens to imperfect pitchers like Dallas Braden or Phillip Humber-- average players who happen to have had the heavens align at the perfect moment. That's what makes Cain's performance even more special. 

On top of it, Cain accomplished something that not even the great Christy Mathewson and Juan Marichal never could; something that no Giant had ever done in 120 years of trying.

It really is an amazing feat, something I will never forget, and yet another reason why Matt Cain is the perfect baseball player.

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