Who the heck is Mike Delio (@Mike_Delio), and where the Devil is Carle Place High School?
Prior to Tuesday, the answer to the first question might have been “nobody”, while the answer to the second could just as easily have been “nowhere”. But after throwing a “double perfecto” earlier in the week, at an ordinary, nondescript baseball diamond in Long Island, NY, Delio, a high school junior, put himself on the map.
On Tuesday afternoon, in his first varsity start, the right-handed pitcher sent down twenty-one batters in a row. Not only did he send twenty-one guys in a row back to the dugout, but he sent them ALL back with their bats on their shoulders and their tails firmly between their legs.
He struck out all 21 batters, using just 84 pitches, 64 of which were strikes.
Delio, however, wasn’t “Absolute Perfect” over 7 innings, because that would mean 21 strikeouts on 63 pitches. Still, by limiting his strike count to one over the minimum, it can be deduced the other team got ‘some’ wood on at least one foul ball.
As described in this post a few weeks ago, The Testee Awards were created to honor superior athletic performances, or actions deemed extremely significant; as in beyond expectation, anticipation or even comprehension.
The award is set aside to acknowledge those special moments in sports that leave fans with a “can you believe that?” sense of “awe” over what they’ve just seen or heard about.
Bubba Watson, for example, converted a total “balls” shot from the trees on the 10th hole at Augusta to win the 2012 Masters. Some commentators described the result of Watson’s gutsy loft that landed just ten feet from the pin as “the shot heard ‘round the world’”. It was pure testiclees!
In Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, David Ortiz, of the Boston Red Sox, slammed a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 12th, to overcome a 3-game to zero deficit with the New York Yankees. Ortiz eventually led his team to victory with additional heroics in Game 7 of that series, and followed up by helping his team win its first World Series title since 1918 the next week. But it was that 12th inning homer in Game 4 that was a moment of total testicular glory, or what I call a “moment of ‘clees’”.
To some, Delio’s “double perfecto” might not be classic ‘clees simply because the kid is only in high school, and his opponent might not have been up to scratch. Doubters who express their disdain, however, are only showing their ignorance.
No-hitters, perfect games, and certainly double-perfectos, don’t drop out of the sky. Perfection is the result of rhythm and chemistry between pitcher and catcher, coupled with quality defense; such as snagging the line drive, or the sliding catch in late innings.
Total domination of the kind Delio demonstrated on Tuesday, however, is unheard of. In that regard, it was total ‘clees.
Delio is only a junior so he’s not a shoe-in for the Mets rotation next June. Hopefully his sudden spectacular accomplishment won’t lead the young pitcher to over-confidence or a sense of invincibility. There’s still plenty of time for his game to fall apart over the next couple of years.
There’s no doubt about the hurler’s achievement, however. 21 up and 21 down, on 21k’s, is an epic and inspiring moment that deserves recognition. And for that, Mike Delio of Carle Place High School, in Long Island, NY, is the Testee Award Winner of this week.
This blog post original appeared at Last Word On Sports on April 4, 2014, and can be read here