As F. Scott Fitzgerald might have written, Bode Dockal is “one of those (babies) who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one (months) that everything afterward savors of anti-climax.”
At the end of the sixth inning, Paul looked up at the scoreboard to check Philip Humber’s pitch count and realized just how perfect a day the White Sox starter was having.
“I turned to my wife, because it was a warm day and she didn’t know how long we should keep Bode out there,” Paul said. “I was like, ‘Hey, is everybody good?’ She asked why and I said, ‘Something really interesting is happening here. I can’t talk about it, but I think it’s happened less than 20 times in the whole history of baseball.”
As the outs piled up and tension mounted in the stands, Paul felt a shift among the Mariners faithful. Some continued heckling Humber, but others appeared to be subtly rooting for the visiting starter. Everyone watched with rapt attention as the innings ticked by. Paul, who attended several games during the White Sox 2005 World Series run, likened the final outs to a playoff atmosphere.
Two hours, 17 minutes after the first pitch, Humber completed his masterpiece with a strikeout of Brendan Ryan. Dockal high-fived nearby White Sox fans and accepted congratulations from several Mariners supporters. But it was Bode, who quietly watched the entire spectacle unfold, who he was thinking about most.
“It’s one of those things that, I don’t think he could understand how important it was for me to be with him until he has a son of his own,” Paul said. “The first thing I said to my wife was, ‘This is the best day I’ve ever had with my son.’”
That sentiment still holds true. But Aug.15 has emerged as a solid No. 2.
And I deserve props for avoiding the obvious “solid No. 2” joke involving a toddler.