Domingo German threw the 24th perfect game in MLB history Wednesday night, retiring 27 straight Oakland Athletics batters in an 11-0 victory for the New York Yankees. But as German made history and earned glowing coverage from media outlets across the country, many baseball fans on social media struggled to celebrate the achievement.

Though Yankees fans who stayed up to watch the West Coast game were overjoyed with the result, the nationwide reaction to German’s perfect game was mixed, though it was the first of its kind since 2012. The source of this lukewarm reception from some was twofold, for the most part.

The response in the context of MLB competition was fairly straightforward. The Oakland Athletics have been adopted by many as a darling pick for the season as fans in the city fight desperately to keep their team while owner John Fisher continues his march to Las Vegas. The team is on pace to have the worst record in franchise history and is arguably one of the worst teams of the modern era. To some, German’s perfect game felt like adding insult to injury.

A more nuanced response came as a result of events off the field. On one hand, several outlets reported that German dedicated his performance to his uncle, who passed away several days before the game. Even this news, however, was met with a seemingly constant stream of serious complaints and distasteful jokes about German’s 2019 domestic abuse scandal.

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In September that year, German slapped his girlfriend at an event with several of his Yankees teammates and their partners present. Later on in the night, German abused her again while intoxicated at their home until she escaped to a locked room. She called the wife of one of German’s teammates, and the pair arrived at the scene to calm German down and tend to her. Though no one ever contacted law enforcement, someone did report the incident to MLB, which suspended German for 81 games in January 2020.

While the history of German’s achievement Wednesday was self-evident, it was inextricably tied to memories of his abuse for many fans, who were either candidly or facetiously vocal on social media in expressing that it soured positive feelings for the perfect game.

Very little of this appeared anywhere near mainstream coverage of the event. In a recurring gap between sports media and the world around it, breaking news writers and broadcast analysts failed to capture the feelings of the audience they were serving. In stark contrast to the blandly triumphant headlines and post-game coverage, the immediate public response to German’s perfect game assumed a wildly varied, often critical tone.

Fans rooting for the winning team had an easier time of it. Fans rooting for the losers sank to new depths. Some found a way to root for the achievement itself. Some couldn’t bring themselves to root for the man. Reactions are individual and can rarely be summarized concisely, but one thing was clear. This perfect game meant more to people than 27 consecutive outs.

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