Sunday, June 06, 2010

A hero for the right reasons

There's been much buzz about a baseball game and a specific pitcher of that game looking for a place in history. Armando Galarraga, of the Detroit Tigers, was headed for a perfect game.

It was the 9th inning with two outs and he threw the pitch inside. Batter hits it infield, right between first and second; Galarraga grabs the bag as the first baseman grabs the ball - throwing it back to first base.

Galaraga snaps his glove closed as he tags first...before the runner makes contact with the bag. Umpire Jim Joyce calls out, "SAFE!" Instantly smiles and cheers of a perfect game turn to confusion and disbelief. Armando Galarraga just turns back toward the mound with a smile on his face and finishes off the game like the pro he is. Jim Joyce later apologizes, after watching the replay, as he made a bad, bad call.

I've been in an umps shoes; it's very tough knowing your view, your call changes what happens in the game. It's a tremendous amount of pressure and in a split second you think you see so many things and question all of it in nanoseconds. He was crushed knowing he took a Perfect Game from this athlete. He approached the pitcher, after the game, with tears in his eyes.

People will remember Armando Galarraga, but not because he was robbed of a perfect game; that's been done before. He will be remembered for his professionalism and his control, and most of all, his smile.

It's great that he maintained his composure, finished the game, and set a tremendous example for his children along with everyone else's children. This is how sports should be played. It should have integrity, nobility, and pride. There's so much whining today in sports that it's almost a shame there's SO MUCH attention to Galarraga's post call behavior. That should be the standard. But it's not and Armando Galarraga should be (and is being) comended for his attitude.

We could all, children and adults alike, learn from him.

See the video here.

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