You know, if you were the suspicious type, this may cause your eyebrows to raise a bit:
Some umpires can work their entire careers and never find themselves
behind the plate for a no-hitter. Eric Cooper has been the plate umpire
for three of them, including two by White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle,
who pitched a perfect game Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays . . .
. . . How’s this for strange? Cooper has been behind the plate for
each of Buehrle’s last three shutouts — the perfect game Thursday, the
no-hitter April 18, 2007, at U.S. Cellular Field against the Texas
Rangers and a 6-0 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 17,
2005, at the Cell. Cooper, 38, also was behind the plate for Boston Red
Sox right-hander Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles
on April 6, 2001.
Sadly, there isn’t any suggestion that Buehrle is paying off Cooper or
anything, because that would be the bestest story ever (at least if you
were a writer). If you’re Ozzie Guillen, though, don’t you mess with
your pitching staff to ensure that Buehrle is on the mound the next
time Cooper is behind the plate when his crew’s in town? If, for no
other reason, than to boost your ace’s confidence?