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Cheering for Johnson just fine

By Doug Gorman

I missed Randy Johnson's perfect game against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.

Even though I had the day off, I wasn't tuned into the game.

I often spend my days off taking a complete break from sports, and on this day, I was visiting my mother, who has just gotten out of the hospital after recovering from heart surgery.

I learned of Johnson's masterpiece while watching the highlights of the game on television.

I am not a huge Randy Johnson fan, but what he did on Tuesday night was fantastic.

Johnson joined some elite company with his gem of a performance. Until the Arizona pitcher retired all 27 men he faced, only 16 other pitchers had accomplished the feat.

Johnson is the oldest to ever do so, turning in the perfect performance at 40.

I guess that's why I am happy for Randy Johnson. I too hit the magical 4-0 in just a couple of short months.

There are not too many athletes older than me still out there performing, so it's nice to see someone like Johnson become part of major league history.

I was shocked to learn some baseball fans at Turner Field were criticized for cheering for Johnson as it came apparent he was zeroing in on baseball history.

That's crazy. Cheering for Johnson late in the game only makes sense.

It's doesn't make those fans in attendance traitors.

Had I bought a ticket to the game, I would have arrived hoping to see the Braves win, but as Johnson continued to flirt with the perfect game in the last couple of innings, I too would have switched allegiance just for the night.

Those cheering for Johnson, especially in the ninth inning show their baseball knowledge. Pitching a perfect game is without a doubt baseball's biggest rarity and those fans no doubt came away feeling lucky to have been part of baseball's history.

I have been a baseball fan for more than 34 years. I'm sure I have attended more than 100 professional baseball games over the years.

I have watched Bob Gibson pitch, Lou Brock steal bases, and Mike Schmidt hit walk-off home runs.

I've been to some divisional playoffs series in Philadelphia and Atlanta.

During Hank Aaron's chase to become baseball's home run king, I even saw him hit a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Guess what folks, Cardinal fans cheered his homer because they realized history was in the making.

That didn't make their loyalty for the home team any less.

I wish I could have been there Tuesday night to watch Johnson's performance because despite all the great baseball games I've watched over the years, I have never witnessed a no-hitter.

Every time someone has gotten close when I've been watchin, it has been broken up late in the game.

Even on television, I often tune in as some one finally gets the breakthrough hit to break up a pitcher's date with destiny.

As for cheering for Johnson, it was the right thing to do. Johnson is a future Hall of Fame pitcher who can still get it done at 40.

For me, that's the only reason I need to celebrate Johnson's performance.

(Doug Gorman is the sports editor of the Daily. He can be e-mailed at dgorman@news-daily.com. His column runs on Fridays.)