What would happen if real issues got people as worked up as a baseball game?
You know by now that an umpire cost a pitcher — who most people had never heard of — a perfect game last night when he blew a call at first, declaring a runner safe who was clearly out.
A rising chorus has called for baseball commissioner Bud Selig to overturn the call and declare it a perfect game. Even a U.S. senator — rumor has it there are more important problems facing the U.S. Senate than baseball games — called for action.
“Last night’s performance deserves its place in the record books,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow said in a statement. “It is clear that Commissioner Selig should make an exception in this case and invoke the ‘best interests of the game clause’ to grant a perfect game to Armando Galarraga and the Detroit Tigers organization.”
(Update: A Michigan congressman has introduced a resolution in Congress over the incident, too)
The governor of Michigan says she’ll issue a proclamation that Armando Galarraga did pitch a perfect game. Perhaps she’ll follow that up by declaring that Michigan’s unemployment rate isn’t really 14.9%.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig considered all of this and today decided not to overturn the umpire’s ruling.
Meanwhile, the umpire who is the target of the pitchforks, has been giving everyone a lesson far more meaningful than any baseball statistic — how to own up to a mistake and take responsibility for it.
Let’s see a politician — any politician — approach this kind of honesty:
Today in Detroit, pitcher Galarraga was given the honor of taking the lineups to home plate before today’s game, where Joyce was waiting. In tears:
… which forces us to acknowledge how much the game has changed.
But back to our story. The umpire’s son reported on his Facebook page that his father has received death threats. “This isn’t surprising, considering he deserves to be killed,” a commenter said.
[Update 12/8/15] – Galarraga has announced his retirement from baseball. Jim Joyce is still an umpire. In 2012, he saved the life of a woman when he performed CPR on a fan having a heart attack at Chase Field.