Umpire, pitcher inspiring in way they handled bad situation

Yes, losing the perfect game to a blown call was unfortunate, but it was great to see a mature display of civility.


Umpire Jim Joyce made a lousy call when he ruled a base runner safe with two outs in the ninth inning to take away Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga's perfect game.

But at least Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig didn't compound the error by using his power to overturn Joyce's bum call.

Ironically, Joyce -- who tearfully conceded he blew the call -- would have welcomed Selig's intervention. The veteran umpire would like nothing more than to have his wrong righted and be able to move on.

This matter is bigger than Joyce, Galarraga and Selig.

Let's face it, umpires blow calls all of the time at the Major League level. Human errors, by players and umpires, are part of baseball.

If the commissioner were to step in and overturn this call because it eliminated a perfect game -- 27 up, 27 down -- then the commissioner will be asked to overturn umpires in other instances. It might start with a perfect game, but it's not likely to end there.

How many perfect games or no hitters have been unfairly derailed by a blown call since baseball began? Surely a few -- if not dozens. There's no real way to know as almost all of the perfect games or no hitters were disrupted long before the final out of the game.

We can play the "what if?" game for hours, but it never changes a thing.

The instant replay rules in professional baseball are very narrow right now, and Joyce's call doesn't come close to fitting the criteria.

So, despite a public outcry wanting Selig to give Galarraga his perfect game, the commissioner wisely stood firm.

Still, something should be done to recognize Galarraga and Joyce, not because of what happened on the field, but how these two men handled this extremely difficult situation.

"What is remarkable is that what unfurled after the call was so civilized, so refreshing," wrote Peter Gammons, a longtime baseball writer now working for the MLB Network.

"Joyce admitted he blew it. (Tiger manager) Jim Leyland said 'no one feels worse than Joyce,' Gammons wrote.

"And when Galarraga faced the media, he didn't plead for pity. He recalled that when he got to the clubhouse, Joyce was waiting for him. 'He told me he was sorry, that he missed the call,' said Galarraga. "'He's human. He made a mistake. He feels terrible. I gave him a hug.'"


That's more than refreshing, it's inspiring. It's a far cry from the petulant, self-absorbed world of pro sports we see on a daily basis.

Finally, grown men acting like responsible, rational and compassionate adults.

Joyce and Galarraga are the kind of men who should be looked at as role models.


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