Consider how many games have been played in the history of Major League Baseball, in how many years, involving how many teams how many times. And only 18 have been perfect. Then consider that Tom Foley and Dave Martinez have been at two of them. And this: They were together, in the same uniform. "How about that?" Martinez said. In July 1991, Foley and Martinez were Montreal Expos teammates when Dennis Martinez threw his perfect game at Dodger Stadium, Martinez in rightfield (hoping any ball hit to the outfield would be caught by CF Marquis Grissom), Foley an infielder on the bench.
And in July 2009, Foley and Martinez were Tampa Bay Rays coaches when Chicago's Mark Buehrle threw his perfect game at U.S. Cellular Field, Foley the Maytag repairman third-base coach (with nothing to do), Martinez the coach on the bench. "They're special," Foley said of the games. "Obviously because of the times they've been accomplished. Being on the winning side as a player was obviously more fun than the losing side as a coach. Either way, though, it was history." "That's something you never forget," Martinez said. They've seen other history, Martinez starting the Rays' inaugural game, Foley coaching third the first time they were no-hit, in April 2002. Since Martinez joined the Rays staff in 2008, they've also become close friends — though Foley jokes not that close because "he's a hunter and I'm a golfer" — and often ride to and from the Trop together from their north Pinellas homes. If you see them, pay attention. You never know what might happen.
A double, and a triple
Manager Joe Maddon also has been a part of two perfectos. He was the Angels' bullpen coach in 1994 when Kenny Rogers did his thing in Texas. He also was an Angels coach for Minnesota lefty Eric Milton's 1999 no-hitter. Three historical games, all from the wrong side. "I'm bad luck," he said. Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer, meanwhile, has seen three perfect games: Don Larsen ('56 World Series), David Wells (May 1998) and David Cone (July 1999).
Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed, below, who graciously handed Thursday's ninth-inning call to Chicago-rooted partner Dave Wills, has witnessed an impressive amount of actual and near-perfection. By his count, Thursday was the sixth no-hitter he's called among the majors, minors and spring training. Taking it further, he's been in the stands as a fan for two more, including ex-Ray Wilson Alvarez's in 1991 at Baltimore when Alvarez was with the White Sox.
When Carl Crawford was making the catch that earned him All-Star Game MVP honors, Rays minor-league OF Jon Weber was in a Charlotte, N.C., motel room cheering wildly. He was happy for Crawford but, as he explained from Durham, also for his small part in history: "I'm lying in bed with my wife and kids, and I'm screaming, 'That's my glove! Crawford's using MY glove!!' " They "traded" in the spring. Crawford said he was "being lazy" and didn't want to hassle with breaking in a new custom Rawlings glove, so he asked Weber, below, for his. Weber, 31, a thus-far career minor-leaguer, doesn't have a free-glove deal, and Carlos Peña had gotten him that one, but hey, this was Crawford, so sure. Crawford gave Weber some bats (which are better than minor-leaguers get) but figures the bill has gone up: "He'll probably want a little something extra now." Weber, who doesn't use the Crawford glove, said more bats would be great: "Tell him to send me something." The whole thing, Weber said, has been fun. "Now I know my glove can make it to the big leagues," he said, "even if I can't." And if Crawford wants to donate the glove to the Hall of Fame, Weber said that's cool, too: "I'll take my son there one day to see it."
The Rays open next season at home with the Orioles and Yankees and finish in Kansas City, based on the preliminary schedule, with interleague trips to Atlanta, Florida and Houston and visits from Arizona, Florida and San Diego. … When Red Jonny Gomes, left, a well-liked former Ray, took ex-mate Seth McClung (now a Brewer) deep for a game-deciding homer last Sunday, he text-messaged a few current Rays knowing they'd enjoy seeing the ESPN highlight. … Five Rays made Joe Posnanski's SI.com list of the 100 best current players: Evan Longoria No. 15, Carl Crawford 35, Ben Zobrist 50, Jason Bartlett 52, James Shields 89. … The O's moving spring training to Sarasota is good for the Rays because it maintains an opponent relatively close to Port Charlotte. Do wonder if the Rays wish they'd waited and moved to Sarasota themselves. … LHP Jim Parque admitted he used HGH when with the Rays in 2003, but it obviously didn't help much. He was 1-1, 11.94 in five games and didn't look good doing it. … Wade Boggs' autographed jersey from his 2,999th hit sold for $2,645 at the All-Star auction. Among other items, a signed bat from that season brought $1,150.
Got a minute? Dale Thayer
Best meal you can make? Grilled cheese
Karaoke song if you had to? Any Bon Jovi song
Must-see TV? The Simpsons
Late-night snack? Bagel bites — always pepperoni.
Dream date? Mila Kunis, from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.