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June 11, 2010

Galarraga's grace in a classless age

by Mandy Xu, News and Entertainment editor
Last Wednesday, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game. On the record, Galarraga lost a perfect game when umpire Jim Joyce missed a call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning. On the record, Galarraga will not join Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden in baseball's perfect game hall of fame. Off the record, it doesn’t even matter; Galarraga will be immortalized. This "imperfect" game is more special and honorable than any perfect game in history.

As Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga exchanges lineup cards, umpire Jim Joyce wipes tears from his eyes. Courtesy of Detroit Free Press
As Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga exchanges lineup cards, umpire Jim Joyce wipes tears from his eyes.
It's easy to picture what could have happened. Galarraga could have easily turned into a monster. He could have yelled threats at Joyce and been taken off the field. He could have given the Cleveland Indians the opportunity to rally their forces. After all, Joyce's explicitly bad call robbed Galarraga of baseball's Haley's Comet.

From there, everything would turn into a mess. The Tigers' coach would literally explode. Joyce would stubbornly cling to his call. In short, anger, crudeness and shame would ensue.

Yet this did not happen; Galarraga left the baseball field quietly. Nothing about his actions even indicated that anything went wrong – save the funny look on his face. His sophistication surprised everyone. Joyce was in tears as he apologized to Galarraga, face-to-face. In baseball, an umpire admitting his mistake is as rare as a perfect game, and Joyce's humility rivals Galarraga's grace.

In this day and age, perhaps all those politicians and CEOs who shy away from apologies could learn something from baseball. The crass manner by which our nation's most powerful leaders cover up mistakes is upsetting – of course, British Petroleum (BP) comes to mind. Why does it take prodding by Obama's administration to get BP to fix the oil spill? BP should have taken responsibility for its mistake immediately.

Sadly, Galarraga and Joyce's elegance stands in stark contrast to BP's actions. I commend Galarraga and Joyce; they are true role models for our generation. Now, I challenge BP officials to be half the gentlemen that Joyce and Galarraga are.

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  • Alice Strand (View Email) on June 12, 2010 at 12:16 AM
    Thank you for this beautiful article. It gives hope in a time when that is hard to come by. Humans CAN be graceful and kind. Excellent.
  • loll on June 12, 2010 at 11:31 PM
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