El día que un “Rey” venezolano alcanzó la perfección

El pasado sábado 15 de agosto, se cumplieron ocho años del último juego perfecto lanzado en las Grandes Ligas. Un registro histórico que está en manos de Félix Hernández, y que, hasta hoy, lo mantiene como el único venezolano en lanzar un compromiso de esta índole en MLB.

Si bien ha pasado un buen tiempo desde aquella joya monticular, en el periodismo siempre hay momentos que te marcan por diferentes circunstancias o motivos. Ese miércoles 15 de agosto de 2012, sin duda, dejó una marca a mí, que me encontraba en la redacción del Diario Meridiano; al igual que en cientos de lugares a lo largo y ancho del territorio venezolano. 

Todo comenzó como una tarde cualquiera en el cuartel del diario. Sabíamos que ese día abriría por los Marineros de Seattle Félix, en horario vespertino; teníamos que estar pendiente de su accionar ante los Rays de Tampa Bay, porque podría ser tema de portada para la primera edición. Lo que no sabíamos es que sería más que una simple tapa. 

Luego de comenzar a escribir nuestras respectivas notas, a eso de las 3:40 de la tarde, hora venezolana, en los televisores de la redacción se sintonizó el juego del diestro para disfrutar de su apertura. Estábamos atentos a cualquier acontecimiento importante. 

Como es normal en estos casos, uno comienza a hablar de que algo transcendental está ocurriendo a partir del sexto o séptimo inning, cuando ya está mucho más cerca la hazaña. Para ese momento, la de Félix era muy importante, porque no se le había embasado ningún adversario a esa altura del compromiso. 

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Poco a poco las miradas comenzaron a fijarse en los televisores. El “Rey” de Venezuela y de Seattle, estaba lanzando primores en su trono del Safeco Field. En la redacción ya se comenzaba a agitar el ambiente, porque estábamos cerca del cierre de edición y una gesta del criollo significaría trabajar a toda marcha y contra reloj. 

El director del diario en ese entonces, Ramón Navarro, y el subdirector, Carlos Valmore, ya comenzaban a maquinar datos, notas e infografías que debíamos plasmar si el carabobeño se convertía en el segundo latinoamericano en la historia en lanzar un juego de esta índole. Todo esto mientras llegaba el noveno episodio del choque. 

Desmond Jennings, Jeff Keppinger y Sean Rodríguez eran los tres bateadores que separaban al “Rey” de plasmar su nombre en la historia del béisbol y a nosotros de ser parte de una hazaña para el deporte venezolano. 

Hernández ponchó rápidamente a Jennings y retiró a Keppinger con rodado al campocorto. Los nervios en la redacción aumentaban. Todos estábamos levantados de nuestras sillas: redactores, diagramadores y hasta la gente de farándula se acercó a ver el turno contra Rodríguez, quien era su último escollo para entrar a la gloria. 

El turno comenzó con dos bolas consecutivas, aumentado la presión. Sin embargo, esa tarde no había nada que detuviese al ídolo de Seattle. Rápidamente vino de atrás en la cuenta y con una recta en cuenta de 2-2 dejó frío a Rodríguez para sellar la perfección. 

Felix Hernandez 2015/ Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images/AFP

Mientras Hernández besaba sus muñecas y levantaba los brazos hacia el cielo, en la redacción la celebración fue corta, ya que el trabajo apenas iniciaba. Corríamos de un lado para otro. En la fuente de béisbol comenzamos a buscar la información necesaria para las notas; los diagramadores a diseñar rápidamente páginas nuevas para la edición y los jefes a pensar en una portada de leyenda. 

Por mi parte fue un momento importante. No llevaba ni un año escribiendo a tiempo completo para el Diario Meridiano y ya me tocaba vivir un hecho importante en las Grandes Ligas. Fue un reto en todos los sentidos, porque me tocó escribir la reseña del compromiso en tiempo récord —buscando que quedara perfecta, como el accionar de Félix—. Al día siguiente todo un país leería esas líneas para saber cada detalle de ese gran juego.

Esa tarde del 15 de agosto de 2012 el “Rey”, aumentó su legado. Seattle quedó rendida a sus pies tras 113 pitcheos y 12 ponches. En la redacción de Meridiano marcó la carrera periodística de muchos y, además, logró que Venezuela celebrara a lo grande la gesta de uno de los mejores lanzadores en la historia del país y del único soberano de esa tierra, que ha logrado una jugada perfecta. 

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