Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paradise Lost

Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game on June 2, 2010. Only he didn't.

With two outs in the ninth inning, first base umpire Jim Joyce put his hands out, signaling that Jason Donald was safe. The 27th batter was out by at least a step, but he was ruled safe. An absolute highjacking just occurred. A perfect game just became a one-hit shutout. How does this happen? Even Jason Donald put his hands to his head with the rest of us in sheer disbelief.

We should still be dancing in the streets, toasting Armando, giddy with pride. Instead we're left pondering a perfect thing lost.

I know. Jim Joyce is a very good umpire. Jim Leyland said it. Tim Kurkjian said it. My mind understands that. I just don't see how he makes that call.

Everybody rallied around Galarraga, who spoke like a man who didn't need consoling. Inexplicably. I wanted to sob for the guy, and he's standing there saying nobody's perfect, practically giving Joyce a pass on a blown call that will overshadow his entire career. So calm. So lacking rancor.

I am glad that he knows. Galarraga knows in his heart that he pitched a perfect game. He said he'll show his kids someday. It won't be the record book he shows them, but a video of the game. Ok. Let the game tell the story. Let their eyes get wide. Let their hearts swell with pride as they see 88 pitches complete a game. Let their voices get hoarse with emotion as they tell how 67 of those pitches were strikes.

Yes. A perfect game. Yes. Perfect.

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