Friday, July 15, 2016

The Near-Perfect Game

(Written in 2010)
In the 130 year history of baseball there have been only 20 perfect games where the pitcher controls the game so that no opposing batter reaches base. And two of those occurred in May, 2010.

Then on June 2nd the sports world was shaken when the 27th batter – the last batter in an otherwise perfect game – was erroneously called “safe” at first base.

Many sports personalities would have yelled and screamed at the ump for a close call, regardless of the sport. Sometimes benches are emptied in a brawl, elbows are thrown in basketball, sticks trip players in hockey. Rodney Dangerfield summed up unprofessionalism in sports when he quipped “I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out.”

In this case the pitcher, 28 year old Armando Galarraga, knew that the runner should have been called out. He knew the bad call ruined his chance to be the 21st pitcher to join that elite group in the sports history books. He did not react. He did not say a word. He just smiled and went back to the mound and pitched to the 28th batter.

Later that day Jim Joyce, a 23 year veteran umpire, viewed a tape of the play and realized he made a bad call. In his apology to Galarraga and the Detroit Tigers he said "I just cost that kid a perfect game. I thought the runner beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay. If I had been Galarraga, I would’ve been the first person in my face, and he never said a word to me.” Galarraga accepted his apology with style and professionalism.

The next day, the two men met on the field before the game. They shook hands and Joyce apologized in person with tears in his eyes. It’s men like these who put the “Professional” back into “Professional Sports”.

Galarraga realizes baseball is a game he plays for enjoyment. What a wonderful example his demeanor and professionalism has provided. Kudos to his parents for their part in developing these character traits. His actions attracted fame and notoriety. He will probably be remembered longer than the two players who pitched perfect games the month before.

Sports are just games to be played and enjoyed – like life itself. So remember, the purpose of life is to be happy. Treat life as if it were a game. Don’t take it so seriously. Have fun. Become famous in your own right.

Originally published in Meta Arts Magazine – July, 2010  

No comments:

Post a Comment