A "perfect game" in baseball is said to be one in which no batter for one of the teams reaches base safely in the course of nine innings (or more), all of which are pitched by the same pitcher for the other team. A "perfect game," in other words, is perfect only from the standpoint of one team -- the team that does not allow an opposing batter to reach base safely. The pitcher for that team is credited with pitching a "perfect game," even though the attainment of "perfection" depends as much on the other players on the field as it does on the pitcher.
In sum, the traditional "perfect game" is a mark of defensive success and offensive failure. That strikes me as a wrong-headed way of defining perfection in a sport where the object is to win by outscoring the other side. A perfect offensive game -- from the standpoint of one team -- would be one in which none of its batters is ever retired. And a doubly perfect offensive game -- from the standpoint of both teams -- would be one in which no batter from either side is ever retired.
But neither a perfect offensive game nor a doubly perfect offensive game is possible -- given the present rules of baseball -- because the teams would never complete the first inning. A perfect offensive game might go into the bottom of the first inning, but it could never go beyond that; that is, if the team that bats in the top of the first inning (the visiting team) is retired, the team that bats in the bottom of the first inning (the home team) would never be retired. A doubly perfect offensive game would never reach the bottom of the first inning because the visiting team would never be retired.
A perfect or doubly perfect offensive game is therefore impossible because, under the present rules of baseball, a game isnt' "a game" unless it lasts at least five innings (four and one-half if the home team is leading after the top of the fifth inning). Or, to put it another way, a perfect or doubly perfect offensive game is a pardoxical concept:
- Such a game requires that at least one side is never retired.
- If one side is never retired, the game cannot be completed.
- If the game is not completed it cannot be counted as a perfect game.