A Few Good Men
The names Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce probably didn’t ring any bells for most of you until this morning—if at all.
The former, a Ranger-turned-Tiger pitcher with decent stats, the latter, a MLB umpire with more than two decades of experience. Last night, in the final moments of Galarraga’s would-be perfect game, Jim Joyce botched a call that would change Galarraga’s life. In time, that very call could be one of the key arguments of the growing instant-replay lobby.
As an aside, it should be noted that there is nary a sports equivalent to baseball’s “perfect game”. It’s as if a boxer landed every punch, yet somehow avoided taking a single blow. It’s like a NASCAR driver winning a race in record time, while the other drivers didn’t even make it around the track. It is, in short, a near impossibility—one that has happened in the modern era of baseball only 18 times.
What the AG takes away from all of this, both as a lifelong baseball fan and more-often-than-not polite guy, has little to do with baseball. Jim Rome, the guys on PTI—everyone will talk about the umpires having too much power in the game, how instant-replay would ruin the purity of America’s favorite pastime, etc. What they should be talking about is class.
After the call, Galarraga had every right to rip Joyce a new one, and Joyce had every right to give him the thumb. That’s what we’re used to, right? Instead, Galarraga took it in stride, finishing out the game and exiting the field like a man. Joyce, in an equally laudatory move, met with Galarraga after the game.
[He] went to the locker room and apologized to Galarraga and the Tigers after the game, admitting that he made the wrong call, but the judgment decision was not subject to video review or appeal under major league rules.
“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” Joyce said. “I thought [Donald] beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw—until I saw the replay.”
“It was the biggest call of my career and I kicked the $@*& out of it,” said a remorseful Joyce, who received sympathy from classy Galarraga.
“He feels really bad. I understand,” Galarraga said. “You don’t see an umpire after the game come out and say, ‘Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry.'”
“He said, ‘You don’t know how bad I feel. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say.’ I gave him a couple hugs and said, ‘Nobody’s perfect.'”
There’s not much else to say here. These are two good men, who both, when put into a hell of a situation, took the high road. In a day and age when the MLB, NFL, etc. are full of overpaid prima donnas, it’s nice to see a player—and an ump—reminding us what it means to have a little class.
Time to show some class, pay closer attention to first base (Jim) and start living life better.