Friday, June 04, 2010

True Class

Just last weekend I noted how remarkable it was that two perfect games have been pitched this season, when there have been only 20 perfect games in all of baseball history.

As most people -- or at least most baseball fans -- know by now, there was another perfect game thrown this week by Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers. However, this one won't be in the record books because umpire Jim Joyce unfortunately blew a call on the game's final out. As a baseball fan, I found it too painful to even read the initial stories, because it was a sad situation. I felt for both the umpire and the pitcher.

The game will go down in baseball history for another reason entirely -- because after the event both the umpire and the pitcher comported themselves with class and dignity. Joyce watched the replay, apologized to Galarraga, and Galarraga, accepting the apology, said, "Nobody's perfect."

In a way it's a shame that their classy behavior is so heartening, but it was wonderful to see, and a great example for Little Leaguers -- and Major Leaguers -- everywhere. The moment yesterday when Galarraga took the lineup card out to home plate, shook hands with Joyce, and Joyce was momentarily overcome with tears is one of those terrific baseball memories that will live right alongside the stat books.

Do I think baseball needs instant replay? Absolutely not. I'm in complete agreement with this lovely essay by The Anchoress. The human factor is part of baseball, and we don't need to make long games longer by pausing for replays. The desire by some for replays seems part and parcel of the modern urge to rush to the courts (or the legislature) to resolve every one of life's problems. Sometimes Life Happens, and you deal with it and move on.

As Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times notes, the imperfections are part of what make baseball special.

Plaschke on yesterday's home plate meeting:

"Joyce cried. Galarraga patted his back. Joyce patted Galarraga's back. Everyone went back to work, another day, another ballgame, another glimpse of the lost soul of sports. Perfect."



Blogger Dana said...

Class and humility. Doesn't get much finer than that. This was a great sports moment and even more, both men will be remembered for the perfect game that wasn't but the dignity that was.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Dana. Always great to hear from you!

Best wishes,

4:06 PM  

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