New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German and pitching coach Matt Blake clearly don't believe in baseball-related jinxes.
Greg Joyce of the New York Post noted how Blake violated an MLB unwritten rule by continuing to interact with German as the 30-year-old pitched what became a perfect game at the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
"[Wednesday] night, he got into the rhythm of wanting information in between each inning and making sure we went over the first three hitters," Blake said about German. "That actually helped everybody to stay on task and not just sit there and think about what was going on. Staying focused on the process of getting outs and what we’re throwing and how we’re throwing it, I thought it kept everybody grounded."
German encountered a unique challenge when the Yankees scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning. That offensive eruption kept him out of the game for over 20 minutes and left him needing to remain loose, so he called upon bullpen catcher and close friend Rainiero Coa for an unplanned throwing session in the visitor's bullpen located in foul territory at Oakland Coliseum.
"A lot of stadiums, you either have to play catch in front of the dugout or go underneath," Blake explained. "I think that actually helped the circumstances of getting on the slope and keeping his delivery together before he had to go back out there. And also being a little cool [Wednesday] night, that was big to keep him in rhythm body-wise."
Outside of that stretch, teammates such as slugger Anthony Rizzo and ace Gerrit Cole had to determine what baseball traditions they'd follow as German completed perfect innings five through nine. While Rizzo said he doesn't "really believe in all that," Cole admitted he got a little superstitious once New York's offense essentially put the game out of reach.
"[Analyst Zac Fieroh] and I stood in the same spot for the six-spot [in the top of the fifth], and I didn’t move at all," Cole said. "I didn’t really get nervous till the eighth. I’ve seen him take no-hitters deep before."
Meanwhile, manager Aaron Boone joked he "was just not going to look too many people in the eye" as German inched closer toward history with each out.
Individuals such as Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press routinely insist announcers, fans and players cannot possibly jinx a no-hitter or a perfect game. German and Blake tested that theory on Wednesday night, but one wonders if they'll act differently when a similar situation arises down the road.