Wednesday, June 2, 2010

of perfect games & sportsmanship

Perfect games in baseball are rare events.
From 1900 to this season there have been 18 - perhaps the best known being Don Larsen's in game 5 of the 1956 World Series.

There've been 3 pitched so far this season.
Only 2 of 'em will count.
On what should have been the final out in a game between Detroit & Cleveland, the umpire called the runner - Cleveland’s Jason Donald - safe at first. He was, in fact, out... by a full step.
The pitcher, Detroit's Armando Galarraga, covered first base, and took the toss.
He stepped off the bag smiling, convinced he'd just pitched a perfect game.
Then he saw first base umpire Jim Joyce call the runner safe.
A bemused look crossed Galarraga's face... but he didn't throw a tantrum.
He didn't scream at the umpire.
He didn't argue the call.
He simply walked back to the mound to face the next batter.

Umpire Joyce apologized to Galarraga after the game, and has stated publicly, “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (stuff) out of it.”

In a post-game interview, Galarraga was gracious, acknowledging that as humans we all make mistakes from time to time.

It won't show up in the record books as a perfect game, but most everyone agrees it was.
... and more than that: it was a rare example of true sportsmanship in professional sports.
Maybe this could only happen in baseball.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. During a game late in his career when he was in his 40s Nolan Ryan threw a pitch exactly in the middle of the strike zone but the ump called it a ball. Ryan's immediate reaction was to laugh. It struck him as funny that a perfect strike could be called a ball. After laughing for a couple of seconds Ryan turned away from the ump so as not to show him up and tried to wipe the grin off his face. The ump shuffled his feet and generally looked embarrassed.

    Honestly finding the ump's call funny was a greater put down than screaming or throwing a fit.