Detroit Tigers run of the mill hurler Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game at the Indians last night in Motown.
Except it wasn’t.
Wasn’t the improbable third gaffe free pitching effort in a month. Wasn’t even a no hitter. (The Tigers did get the W.)
On what should have been the last play of the game, first base umpire Jim Joyce made a titanic mistake. The 27th Cleveland batter of the contest, shortstop Jason Donald, hit a bouncer to first sacker Miguel Cabrera, who tossed the ball to Galarraga, covering the bag.
Joyce, an umpire with a sturdy reputation, called the runner safe. Replays confirmed: He was clearly out.
After watching the replay, Joyce was beside himself. “I did not get the call correct.”
More than once he repeated himself. “I just missed the damn call.”
How mad can you be at such immediate, appropriate and heartfelt contrition?
How mad could journeyman Galarraga be at this, the singular shining moment of his lifetime undermined by such an error?
Except he wasn’t.
When told by a reporter how upset the ump was, Galarraga proved himself a mensch of the highest order.
“Tell him no problem.
“I can go tell him.
“I should probably talk to him. It will be better.”
Galarraga’s final thoughts: “We’re human . . . Nobody’s perfect.”
Well, maybe. But, in a situation fraught with the possibility of recrimination, there was instead remorse. Compassion trumped complaint.
In a moment that shined gloriously, Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce displayed the most admirable of human traits.
This was one of baseball’s shining moments: A not so perfect game with perfect aftereffects.
(Quotes used here came from Michael Rosernberg’s column in this morning’s Detroit Free Press.)
– Seedy K