Armando Galarraga: A different kind of perfect game
Last night a bad call by an umpire unfairly cost the Detroit Tigers pitcher a historic achievement. But the moment revealed an unexpected beauty
Last night, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarrago suffered "one of the most absurd injustices in the history of baseball" when he had a perfect game — the extremely rare acheivement of retiring the opposing teams' batters in order for nine straight innings — spoiled by an umpire's botched call, says Joe Posnanski at Sports Illustrated. On a routine play that ought to have been the final out of game, umpire Jim Joyce called a Cleveland Indians player safe at first base when everyone else present at Detroit's Comerica Park knew, and replays confirmed, that the runner was out by a considerable margin. The mistake was baffling, and ruined what might have been a historic moment for, literally, "millions" of Tiger fans. Today, plenty of commentators are griping about the injustice — but we shouldn't overlook that there was also "something beautiful in the Jim Joyce fiasco":
"In that moment when he had a perfect game so unfairly taken away from him, Galarraga smiled. In the interview after the game, he simply said that he wasn’t sure about the call but he was proud of his game. When told afterward that Joyce felt terrible about the missed call, Galarraga said that he wanted to go tell Joyce not to worry about it, that people make mistakes...
"Galarraga pitched a perfect game on Wednesday night in Detroit. I’ll always believe that. I think most baseball fans will always believe that. But, more than anything, it seems that Galarraga will always believe it. The way he handled himself after the game, well, that was something better than perfection. Dallas Braden’s perfect game was thrilling. Roy Halladay’s perfect game was art. But Armando’s Galarraga’s perfect game was a lesson in grace.