The baseball world doesn’t need another opinion about Armando Galarraga‘s near perfect game so forgive me for weighing in.
It’s true that the Tiger hurler won’t be officially listed as the 21st major league pitcher to achieve the monumental feat, but what came out of the controversial incident will ironically have far more impact for the pitcher, umpire Jim Joyce and all of baseball.
Point 1: While a perfect game stands among the most cherished accomplished in sports, many who have done it have their names on the exclusive list, but are mostly forgotten. Mike Witt, Len Barker and Tom Browning come to mind. Galarraga, on the other hand, will always be remembered in baseball lore as the guy who got cheated from his moment of glory. In reality, his name will have a more prominent place in the game than most of the others who actually pitched a perfecto.
Point 2: In the current world of sports, we’re plagued with taunting, overall bad sportsmanship and a lack of accountability. The events of the last two days in Detroit showed us that hope is not lost. What overshadowed Joyce’s mistake was how everyone handled it from Joyce himself to the betrayed pitcher to Tiger manager Jim Leyland to the fans of Detroit. It was a case study of exactly how we’d like the participants to react in a difficult situation. I know I’m old school, but we needed this to help get us back in the right direction regarding athletic behavior.
So my opinion is that Galarraga will be more prominent in history, Joyce will be lauded as an exceptional man who faced the music–which after all is much more significant than being a perfect umpire–and fans everywhere will benefit from the example of their counterparts at Comerica Park.