Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sportsmanship Survives Perfect Blown Call

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

How about a round of applause for Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga and MLB umpire Jim Joyce. A pitcher denied a perfect game by a bad call at first by Joyce on what was to be the final out of the game. Today, they were shaking hands at home plate before the Tigers/Indians series finale in an ultimate display of sportsmanship. Here's a brief recap just in case you missed the news....

Public controversy continues swelling. Yesterday, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Armando Galarraga had been perfect for 8 2/3 innings vs Cleveland Indians hitters. Not a single Indians batter had reached base. Austin Jackson had just made a spectacular running catch to keep Galarraga's perfect game bid alive. With two outs, little known Jason Donald hit a grounder wide of first. On a bang bang play, Galarraga ran from the mound to cover. He received the throw from 1B Miguel Cabrera in time for the out on a close play. However, firstbase umpire Jim Joyce blew the call. Tiger's fans went from an instant celebratory cheers to emphatic booing within seconds. No amount of arguing changed Joyce's call. Donald was safe. Galarraga's perfect game ended. Controversy over the blown call is now deepening. At least with everyone except Tiger's players and Joyce.

Most often after blown calls are ridiculed by analysts umpires hold their ground. Rarely do MLB umpires admit blowing safe and out calls. Understandably, immediately following the call, the play was disputed. Now we're hearing the replay promoters coming out claiming it's time MLB instituted official replays for close plays. No way! Isn't baseball trying to speed up games? What about human elements of baseball? Baseball isn't perfect. Allowing replays on all calls will bring the game to a standstill especially if balls and strikes are included. Baseball is imperfect. So is life. No replays other than disputed home runs is fine by me.

Back to Galarraga. What a class act. Most players would have been mouthing off after the game. While watching the game, and it's aftermath, I heard Detroit broadcasters claiming "... have you ever felt worse about winning a 1 hit shutout?" Galarraga refused to take reporters baiting ways as they attempted to get Galarraga to denounce umpire Jim Joyce. He did chime in saying Joyce blew it but failed to condemn the shaken ump.

Joyce was quick to state he blew it after watching replays. He even went the extra mile to personally apologize to Detroit's hurler after the game. Fast forward one day later to this afternoon's contest. Joyce is umpiring behind home. Galarraga brought out the lineup card. Both players exchanged handshakes. This was classic. Both are human. Joyce apologetic and deeply saddened over the events from yesterday. Galarraga a big man to accept without reservation. Life lesson's never end.

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