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Ken Korach on Calling the Perfect Game

April 11, 2011

Early in Spring Training I think it was, on Athletics Nation there was a call for questions to ask Ken Korach. I submitted a question I would’ve asked him and was really excited to see that the guys who interviewed him decided to choose my question – read the entire interview though (well part one at least the rest is on its way I presume) as it is fantastic stuff. It is great that Ken is willing to engage us fans like this, and the entire organization has been great to support the A’s blogosphere with interviews and access. I love listening to Korach’s calls so it is an honor to have had my question answered. Here it is below, I am not sure if the “you knows” are the verbatim transcribing of the interview or if they were in my original question, they could’ve been, you know? But here it is, thank you again to everyone at Athletics Nation involved with the interview, great stuff!

“EN:  All right, well we’re going to start out with dwishinsky’s first question, here, about perfect games. All right, we’ll start here.  The question, if I had one, is this:  Perfect games are ridiculously infrequent.  Did you start thinking about [Dallas]  Braden’s late in the game, like this could be, you know, when you were working on your call, were you thinking about… I mean, I may have to call this, this is like one of, at the time one of the 19 times that this has ever happened in 130+ years during this game.

KK:  Right.

EN: This is going to be played over and over again; this is, you know, a huge event.  Did you think that it would be a signature-type call, did you plan it out, or did it just come?  And, do you feel like anything could top that from a broadcasting standpoint?

KK: Well, it’s a great question.  The first part of the answer is that I think you are always aware of where you are in a game.  In other words, even after the first inning, you’re aware that maybe one of the teams doesn’t have any hits, or after two innings, or that the pitcher’s retired the first six, or the first nine, so I think, as an announcer, you are always aware of if somebody has a no-hitter or a perfect game.  Now, you don’t take it real seriously, or start to think about it, and so maybe you get into the fifth or sixth inning. And as you know, Vince does the seventh inning, and it was in the seventh inning when I took a little walk for myself around the Coliseum press box and I just tried to gather my thoughts and organize my thoughts, and I actually at that point asked Robert Buan if he could do a little research and pull up a couple of the articles that traced the history of Dallas with his grandmother and his mom.  I knew the story but I also wanted to make sure that I had it right.

EN:  The relevance to Mother’s Day.

KK:  Exactly.  And so I wanted to make sure that, ‘cause I, the only thing I really planned, was that, while the A’s were hitting in the eighth inning, if Dallas still had the no-hitter, I didn’t want to talk about it while the Rays were hitting. ‘Cause Dallas works so quickly and I didn’t want to detract from what was going on in the game, but I did want to delve into the story of Dallas, and losing his mom, and being raised by his grandmother, and the poignancy of that, and how this was all happening on Mother’s Day.  So, as far as the call was concerned, there was no premeditation at all; in fact, what I tried to do was take all my notes, Media Guides, anything that had been printed out, and I pushed them all aside when the top of the ninth inning began, and I just tried to call the game.

EN:  Purify the moment.

KK:  Just to call the game.  And he was working very quickly so there wasn’t a lot of time, you know, for a lot of discussion between pitches, either.  So that’s how that evolved.

NP: Were you aware of the fact that the count was 3-1 (on Gabe Kapler) when Dallas was not?

KK:  Yeah, I think I mentioned, I tried to mention the count before every pitch.  So I think, ‘cause I was really, I was really trying, you know, focusing on the fundamentals of the inning, you know, you’ll… if you hear it back I do set the defense, which was paying homage to Vin Scully.  And the call with [Sandy]  Koufax’s (1965) perfect game against the Cubs.  So, yeah, and I wasn’t aware obviously until later when he said he didn’t know the count and that he would have thrown a different pitch if he had known the count, which was just perfect for Dallas.

EN:  I loved when they asked him, what were you going to throw?  And he said, I don’t know, underhand, “Eephus” pitch, behind-the-back, something like that.

KK:  Yeah. So it was a, it was a huge throw.

EN: Fabulous.

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