I like baseball. I like the history, tradition and legends of the game. I like the storytelling that’s evolved around it. One of my best mother’s days (a holiday you all know I despise) was taking Mom to her first Cubs game in fifty years.
If you follow baseball at all, you heard how last Wednesday Detroit’s Armando Galarraga did what only 20 other men have done in the history of baseball, and pitched a perfect game, meaning not one single batter who came to the plate made it on base. Except he didn’t. On what should have been the last out, the umpire blew the call, and said the runner was safe.
Galarraga went on to show himself a true sportsman and a solid gentleman. Everybody was hollering and booing. Galarraga just smiled, and smiled, and went back to work, and got the next guy out too. The umpire, a true professional, and clearly a man to whom this is not just a job, wept over his mistake and apologized personally and publiclly to Galarraga, who responded with continued class. Everybody handled it about as well as it could be handled. That Chrysler gave Galleraga a corvette is a nice home town gesture of a bonus.
The only part that has been less than laudible is the decision of Baseball Commissioner Bud Seilig not to reverse the call and award Galarraga what everybody knows he earned.
Now, I understand how important it is for umpires to maintain absolute authority on the field. Their decisions have to be made in a split second, and they have to stand, or it’s gonna be chaos in what is a high-pressure, high-testosterone situation. BUT in baseball, the stats are of tremendous importance, to players, to the teams and to the game itself. The rank was earned. The umpire himself admitted it, and pretty quickly too. There’s no question, unlike some other stats recently, whether the pitcher actually earned it. He did it. We all saw it (and it was a hell of a game too, including a catch by Austin Jackson that was also one for the books). Why can’t he have the exclamation point?
Everybody’s done the right thing here. Everybody but the one guy with the power to set the record straight.
Mr. Seilig should pay closer attention to the umpire’s ultimate call.