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Sox a vision of perfection to Utah fan

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Brian Rowley OF Santaquin, is a Red Sox fan. These days, who isn't?

But in his case, it's not because movie stars like Ben Affleck love the Sox. Nor is it because Rowley liked Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore in "Fever Pitch."

It's because every time he sees the BoSox play, they're pretty much perfect. Sort of like catching Sinatra at Carnegie or sunset at Laguna Beach. The story goes like this: Rowley attended his first Red Sox game last September with his wife, Emily, and friends. What happened? Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Baltimore.

That was fairly unique, a good story to tell his neighbors. Then something really amazing happened: He attended his second Red Sox game May 19, and Jon Lester tossed a no-hitter to beat Kansas City 7-0.

Two games, two masterpieces for the Payson optometrist.

You might say he has an eye for such things.

"People were saying, 'When are you going to come back?' and I was telling them I don't want to put pressure on the pitcher next time," said Rowley by phone this week. "The chances of going three-for-three aren't that good."

Yeah, well, two-for-two isn't exactly a surefire deal, either. Boston pitchers have thrown only seven other no-hitters at Fenway Park. The Boston Globe said official scorer Charles Scoggins had scored 1,465 games at Fenway, yet the May 19 game was his first no-hitter.

Meanwhile, an eye guy from a Utah town of 5,000 people, 2,400 miles away, has seen twice that many.

"It was an amazing experience," added Rowley.

Rowley, it should be noted, isn't a baseball ingnoramus. He grew up in Richfield, where he played prep tennis and basketball. Since Utah doesn't have any major league baseball teams, he didn't attend many games. In fact, before last fall he had been to exactly one MLB game — a Kansas City Royals game in high school.

But he spent his summers playing Little League, where he pitched and played shortstop. He was 6 feet 6 inches in high school and later shot up to 6 feet 8 inches.

Which would have made him a pretty imposing pitcher.

And it has made him a really impressive optometrist.

"Baseball was always my second-favorite sport, next to basketball," he said.

After attending Snow College he transferred to BYU, later attending optometry school in Oregon.

When the May 19 game moved into the late innings, Rowley remarked about the possibility of a no-hitter — much to the consternation of a few superstitious types nearby. Talking about a no-hitter while the game is in progress is considered by some a faux pas.

"In the sixth or seventh inning, the buzz started going around," he said. "It's one of those things. I'm not as superstitious. I wasn't naive."

That didn't stop others from telling him to hush and let history happen.

Rowley has been to two other MLB games. In September, he saw the Yankees on the same trip as his first Fenway experience. This spring's Boston trip was accompanied by another trip to Yankee Stadium.

In both cases, the Yankees lost but the Red Sox were pure magic.

"Boston was a lot more exciting — the fan support, the intensity, the whole city gets into baseball. In New York, I think there's just a lot more competing with it."

Though Rowley wasn't a Sox fan growing up, his younger brother was.

"I teased him because of the curse, but when they won the Series (2004), then we started being Boston fans," he said.

Rowley has been fielding media calls nationwide to to explain his extraordinary karma.

Asked if he thought his streak of witnessing no-hitters would spur fanatical Sox fans to fly him back for more games, Rowley joked, "Hopefully this will generate some offers. It would sure speed up my (chances for more) trips."

E-mail: rock@desnews.com