Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Perfect Game

Today I wanted to follow up a bit on a post from a couple of days ago. As you’ve all likely heard/seen on the news, last week, pitcher Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers came within one out of throwing the 21st perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball.

However, because of a bad call at first base on the potential last out of the game, he instead became the answer to the ultimate trivia question. A couple of them, actually.

How do you record 28 outs in a nine inning baseball game without an error being committed?

Who was the first base umpire responsible for the bad safe call during the infamous "Perfect Game that Wasn't"?

What did Armando Galarraga receive as a gift from the city of Detroit the day after he was robbed of a perfect game?

The answer to that last question is a Corvette, by the way. Useless trivia aside, I'd like to talk about the fallout from the game, and the actions of both the pitcher and the umpire and the reaction from baseball.

The Tigers played a game the next day, and the same umpiring crew was assigned to officiate. The first base umpire from the near perfect game, Jim Joyce, would be behind home plate for the game, which means that each team's manager has to give Joyce their lineup cards before the start of the game.

In a move that was classy and exactly the right thing to do in the situation, Tigers manager Jim Leyland had Galarraga walk out to home plate and hand the Tigers' lineup card to Joyce.
Joyce, who stood up in front of the media prior to the game and admitted that he was wrong and apologized several times, was visibly emotional when the young pitcher walked over to him.

In turn, the Tigers crowd--who just the night before booed the call vehemently--cheered the man prior to the game.

In today's day and age (wow, do I sound like the old man yelling at clouds, or what?), it's all too rare to see classy players, classy fans, and displays of genuine sportsmanship.

The news is filled with athletes doing stupid things, signing ridiculous contracts, and acting in ways not consistent with anyone's ideals for "role models." But then something like this happens, and a young player loses his chance at baseball history.

And he gains the respect of every single person in and around the baseball world.

And, despite the fact that some tried to make the story about renewing talks concerning instituting instant replay in baseball (something I'm very much opposed to, by the way), Galarraga and Joyce were the main story.

Positive, admirable actions--both on and off the field--carried the news for once. And for that, this baseball fan couldn't be more appreciative.

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