OK everyone. Time to take a breath…I’m about to defend an umpire.
Last night’s blown call in the Detroit Tigers/Cleveland Indians game is not the end of the world.
Record books don’t need to be re-written. Umpires don’t need to be fired. And certainly, umpires families don’t need to be threatened…
Because all that happened last night was…well…life.
In case you missed it, Armando Galarraga took a perfect game into the 9th inning against the Cleveland Indians. On what should have been the last play of the game, the hitter for the Indians hit a ground ball to the right of first base. Miguel Cabrera picked it up and threw to Galarraga who was covering 1st base. The runner was out by half a step, and Galarraga should have begun celebrating a perfect game.
But he couldn’t. Because Jim Joyce, the umpire, called the runner safe. In case you missed it, here’s the clip.
Now, Joyce has apologized for blowing the call. Galarraga has accepted the apology. Why the uproar? Some people are upset because Major League Baseball is refusing to overturn the result and award a perfect game to Armando Galarraga.
Why should they?
Baseball has always had a human element to it. There have always been blown calls. Mistakes are sometimes made as the ones who call the game are human. And let’s remember that. Baseball history reflects this. Why change now? Now, if you want to make the argument that baseball should incorporate more instant replay, I’ll certainly listen to that, but to change results of games based on a mistake? That would take away from one of the great things about sports: Sometimes, it’s a microcosm of life that we can learn from.
Every once in a while in life, mistakes are made, either by ourselves or someone around us. One of the things we need to learn in life is how to deal with the mistakes. There’s no DeLorean with a flux capacitor that lets you go back in time and fix what you did wrong. So really, all you can do is apologize and move on. And that’s exactly what these two classy individuals are doing. An apology was extended and accepted. What better lesson could we learn from this? Sometimes, life is not fair. Should Galarraga have a perfect game? Absolutely. Is it unfair that he doesn’t? Absolutely.
But that’s life, people.
There’s also an uproar from people calling for Joyce to be fired. These crazy nutjobs (and especially the ones who should be locked up for threatening his family) need to remember one simple thing: Everyone is human. Everyone makes mistakes. The mistakes you and I make may not make national news, but they happen. When you make a mistake on your job, do you get fired? Probably not. You learn from it, and you move on. Which is exactly what Jim Joyce should be able to do now, especially since the one he wronged accepted the apology and is moving on.
And we should do the same.