With all that has been going on off the coast of Israel and the Gaza strip I haven’t weighed in on the near-perfect game of baseball the other night of Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga. But we all have much to learn from this baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers and most importantly between the pitcher and the umpire Jim Joyce.
Bottom of the ninth inning on June 2 in Detroit Galarraga had a thus far thrown a perfect game. His would have been the third since May 9 an outstanding feat considering that prior to May 9 there had only been 18 in the history of MLB baseball. A rarity indeed. First baseman Miguel Cabrerra moves right off the base to field a grounder and Galarraga covers first receiving the toss from Cabrerra before the runner reaches the base only to have the umpire, Jim Joyce call it safe. Galarraga could have thrown a temper tantrum. But the look of disbelief and almost angelic smile showed a different side of baseball. It was clear that it was a blown call from the television angels and commentators immediately began chiming in. Joyce to his credit apologized to Galarraga that evening. And to Galarraga’s credit he was a gentleman even before the cameras refusing to tear the umpire apart.
Even the next day when Galarraga handed the line-up to Joyce who then to be behind home plate , the orchestrated moment brought tears to Joyce’s eyes and in their exchange widely viewed on television clips it was clear they had a mutual respect for each other. And Joyce to his credit was repentant.
Wow- 2 gentlemen. 2 sportsmen. Something we so rarely see anymore. Mostly we see screaming, shoving, and in your face antics when people disagree about a call. Whether in baseball, football or basketball (all you Laker and Celtics fans take note)there seems to be less sportsmanship among players. You know sports is such big business every play has such great financial strings attached. Less hitting, less baskets, less first downs affects the pay check. And so hot heads seem to be the norm.
How refreshing to see these two. Even when Galarraga was robbed of a rarity. A perfect Game. But he knows. And the fans know. And yes even Jim Joyce knows-it will always be perfect. And in truth the two of them Joyce and Galarraga are a perfect example of how to apologize for a blown call and how to graciously accept not just the apology but the consequences.
Umpires and Players are naturally at odds. Go to any baseball game –it is tradition to yell at the Blues. To disagree with their strike zone. To Razz them when they seem to favor the visitors over the home team. But to watch this blue, Jim Joyce act with dignity and honor and the pitcher Armando Galaragga act with dignity and honor-that is refreshing and inspiring, especially in these times when hatred and forgiveness seem far away from most of the world.
Ya’ Gotta Love Baseball!