Lessons from a Bad Call
By P. B. Lang
Sometimes in life adverse circumstances give us the opportunity to rise to the highest examples of what a person can be. Less often-such a spectacle becomes public. Yesterday witnessed such an occasion. Armando Galarraga pitched a no hitter ruled other wise by Jim Joyce an umpire of considerable distinction twice voted one of the very best umpires in the league by the players he referees.
Joyce made a bad call that will forever remove Galarraga achievement of pitching a perfect game from the record books. While that is indeed unfortunate I think that every professional athlete and fan who watches them should take note of the honor and grace of these two men in the way they dealt with it and with each other. In a world of sensationalism and unrealistic expectation these two men independently did what too many men have forgotten to do and that is to remain always a gentleman.
For his part Joyce admitted that despite his best efforts, which time has proven to be very respectable, he made an error. He also remarked that his error cost that young man one of the greatest achievements any player could ever aspire to and that his mistake was irreparable. Galarraga’s behavior on the field was exemplary, accepting the decision of the umpire with grace and dignity despite the profound frustration and disappointment he must have felt. There was no tantrum, no childish behavior no whimpering, only the recognition of a situation that might be incorrect, unfair and unfortunate. Galarraga behaved like a mature adult and pressed on completing his perfect game.
History will record the perfect game that wasn’t but the real tragedy is that no one will recall the conduct of these two men during and after the event. Too soon we will return to the argumentative demonstration s of disrespect that seems rife in sports today. Behavior I would have never tolerated from the little league players I coached in years past.