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A Lesson From Imperfection

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Last Wednesday, June 2nd the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0.  In front of 17,738 in attendance, Armando Galarraga pitched the 21st perfect game in Major League baseball history – almost.  It was not in the cards that night for Galarraga.  As has been well documented, the umpire calling safe or out at first base for the potential 27th out called safe and missed the call. 

 I don’t want to talk about instant replay, poor umpiring or a plea to Bud Selig to reverse the blown call.  I want to talk about the lesson learned from the aftermath.  The pitcher who was involved in the fateful play responded with dignity and grace.  He was disappointed and upset with the call but took his lumps and shook it off.  He could have joined the most elite club in baseball – the perfect game club.  I say that with the passage of time he will transcend the perfect game club and will join a club of his own.  Not only will he be remembered as throwing the perfect game whether by an asterisk or by some other means, he will forever be remembered as a man who actually embodied the qualities, true or romanticized, that have been associated with the national pastime.  What kind of man is Armando Galarraga?  I don’t know and I suppose he has many faults that most rich athletes have but in the worst conditions when a temper tantrum would have been considered acceptable he paused, took it in and completed the game without even getting credit for a no hitter.  He passed a test the most of us would have failed.

 There are two other personalities in this matter that I would like to mention, the umpire who made the call and Tigers manager Jim Leyland.  Umpire Jim Joyce made the call that he thought was right and resisted the temptation to “give” a call to the pitcher.  We all know he was wrong but in his error he showed integrity and afterwards displayed humility by acknowledging his error and without making excuses.  I suppose he will continue umpiring without many repercussions as he is generally considered to be a good umpire.  I believe that he will gain respect as a man who believed in his judgment and who was willing to admit he was wrong afterwards.  Finally, I would like to tip my cap to Jim Leyland.  He was visibly upset at the play and after the game he was seen yelling at Umpire Joyce.  When interviewed shortly after the game in the clubhouse he was still very upset and his voice was unsteady but he took the time to consider everything and began to display restraint and made conciliatory comments about events that unfolded that night. He also helped calm the city and shape public opinion knowing there was a game to be played about 14 hours later the next day.  The final touch that helped put baseball back on track was to let Galarraga take the lineup card out to the home plate umpire the next day.  That Umpire was Jim Joyce and the shaking of hands and show of respect sealed the wound between all parties in the world of baseball. 

 Yes, it is just a game but it is my game of choice and our national pastime.

 Have a good week.


Written by pacelinebiz

June 7, 2010 at 10:19 am

One Response

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  1. Doug,this incident that you wonderfully wrote about did more to justify my faith in mankind than anything I have seen in the sports world in a very long time.

    Frank Whalen

    June 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

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