Taulbee: Even Before His Perfect Game, Southerner Matt Cain Popular In San Francisco

by Chip Taulbee  on Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012 1:30 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

In ways good, bad and strange, San Francisco can feel to a Southerner like a world apart.

As I vacationed with my family there this week I could only imagine what the Alabama-born, Tennessee-raised Matt Cain thought of his new home upon joining the Giants in 2005. San Francisco: A place where you often need a jacket to stay warm in the middle of a June day. A place where marijuana is practically legal but fattened goose liver is about to be outlawed. A place where t-shirts reading “My doggie has two daddies” isn’t a joke but a political statement.

Different as San Francisco is from my Arkansas, Cain proved, even before his gem of a game last night, that hard work and doing your job well are valued from coast to coast in these United States.

Before Cain threw his first pitch last night it was apparent to me how much this city and its Giants fans loved their workhorse pitcher. In eight seasons with the club, all he’s done is win 76 games, get selected twice as an All Star and win a World Championship.

Local Giants fans I spoke with – again, before last night’s game – spoke of the nine-figure contract the club gave him this year, a deal that makes him baseball’s highest-paid right-handed pitcher, as a deserved reward and a worthy investment.

About a third of the way into this season, Cain’s earned his keep by tossing at least six innings for all his starts and winning seven games.

Cain won his eighth last night and notched only the 22nd perfect game in MLB history.

If you attend two games a year you have a one in 64 million chance of seeing a perfect game. This was my first, but my father-in-law was treated to his second viewing of one of sports’ most rare feats (he was there when the Phillies’ Jim Bunting hurled his in 1964). Members of my family can claim seeing three of the 22 perfect games.

Nationally, folks will remember Cain’s performance last night because of the history of it. But it was clear the local fans — different as their backgrounds might be from Cain — had great appreciation the pitcher even before last night.

Chip Taulbee is a baseball aficianado and associate publisher of ArkansasSports360.com's parent company, Arkansas Business Publishing Group.



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