Sometimes It Rains
Everyone who knows me knows I am passionate about family, country, politics, and baseball. The latter is in my thoughts today. In the modern era of Major League Baseball, only 20 pitchers have thrown perfect games – 27 batters up, 27 batters down. Last night, Armando Galarraga should have become the 21st, but his perfect game will not make it into the history books.
In the ninth inning of the Detroit Tigers home game against the Cleveland Indians, the 27th batter hit a pitch which was fielded by the Tigers’ first baseman. In a classic and often practiced drill, pitcher Galarraga covered first base and received the throw, clearly a step ahead of the runner. As Galarraga prepared to celebrate his historic feat, first-base umpire Jim Joyce called the runner safe. As the replays showed time and again, the ump got it wrong. Without question, he got it wrong.
Fans of professional sports would not be surprised if Galarraga had lost his temper, yelling and screaming at the umpire. He didn’t though. Instead, he gave a “You’ve got to be kidding me” smile, and then retired the next batter to end the game. In my opinion, Galarraga showed real class, which is often missing in professional sports and other aspects of our life.
Two more examples of class were to follow. After the game, umpire Joyce reviewed the call, realized he had blown it, and asked to speak to Galarraga. During the conversation, Joyce apologized, Galarraga accepted the apology, and the two professionals hugged.
Some commentators today have suggested MLB Commissioner Bud Selig should overturn Joyce’s call and award Galarraga his rightfully earned perfect game. I hope Selig does not do it.
In a nation beset by division, Pitcher Armando Galarraga and Umpire Jim Joyce gave America a teachable moment about humility, acceptance, and forgiveness. Their example and lesson may very well make a greater impact on our national discourse than just another number in a record book.
In baseball, after all, “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.