Perfect games are exciting. There are ups and there are downs. There's nail-biting suspense and long-overdue jubilation.
But have these emotions ever been measured ... scientifically?
Well, Seattle native Mordechai Treiger was wearing a heart monitor during Felix Hernandez's perfect game back on Aug. 15 and reported the experience on his blog. His doctor asked him to wear the device over concern that his heart rate had been steadily decreasing since 2007. The 24-hour period on Aug. 15 would reveal how his heart responds to a normal day's activities. Little did the doctor know that Treiger was headed to Safeco Field, where King Felix was about to make history.
Treiger attended the game with his girlfriend, using his family's season-ticket plan. Although the law student admitted he couldn't actually feel his heart rate increase, he helped explain why there was a noticeable uptick in the graph near the end of the game.
"As a former biology major, I can say that an elevated heart rate is definitely associated with arousal of the fight-or-flight response," he said. "Historically and evolutionarily, such behavior allowed people to prepare to deal with stressful situations. In this particular instance, Rays hitters doing their best to prevent Felix from making history increased my tension [and heart rate]."
The Tachycardia graph from Treiger's heart monitor (pictured above), put shows a 6 1/2 minute spike around 3 p.m. ET (second bar from the left), fitting in nicely with Felix completing the perfect. It's excitement measured in real time -- pretty amazing stuff.
The doctor's final prognosis deemed Treiger a healthy 24-year-old, explaining the 3 p.m. increase as part of a "normal heart rate" for his age range.
Asked whether he would wear a heart monitor at his next game, Treiger said, "I hope not! If I did wear it to another game, it would mean something went terribly wrong."
-- Matt Monagan / MLB.com