It Was Perfect
Something special happened in Detroit on Wednesday night. There was an injustice, but no one died and we all learned an important lesson about what it means to be an adult.
If you are a baseball fan—or a Tigers fan, like me—you already know about the nearly perfect game pitched by Armando Galarraga. With two outs in the ninth, Galarraga is one out away from pitching the third perfect game this year (and the 21st in the history of the game). The batter, Jason Donald hits a grounder between first and second. Miguel Cabrera fields the ball cleanly and throws to Galarraga covering first. But the umpire blows the call! Galarraga looks surprised, but returns to the mound and gets the next batter to ground out.
After the game, the umpire, Jim Joyce watches the videotape.
He saw that he’d made a mistake and took immediate responsibility. He went straight to the clubhouse where he personally apologized to Galarraga. Then he told the press, “I just cost the kid a perfect game.” He 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.”
Galarraga showed a lot of class and was gracious in accepting the umpire’s apology.
What was sweet and surprising was that all the principals in the story comported themselves as fully formed adults, with patience, grace and dignity. And in doing so, Galarraga and Joyce showed kids How to Do It…Galarraga and Joyce couldn’t have known it when they went to work Wednesday, but they were going to show children in an unforgettable way that a victim of injustice can react with compassion, and a person who makes a mistake can admit and declare it.
And so it goes.