Parenting Blog

Perfectly Flawed

MLB Umpire Jim Joyce screwed up.  That’s putting it mildly.  Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game last night, whether the record books ever signify it as such isn’t really the point.  Anyone with a TV or an internet connection saw it and many hopped online immediately afterward to talk about it.

The young righthander’s perfection didn’t end on the field.

The reaction to Joyce’s call of safe at 1st base has been heated and loud.  Joyce, to his credit, owned up to the error immediately and apologized profusely to Galarraga, publicly and privately, right after the game.

There’s a lesson in here and it’s not the nobody’s-perfect angle, although that is certainly true.  The teaching point is in Galarraga’s response, which is about as classy as you could ever be, let alone after getting your chance to be in the MLB record books stolen from you on the 27th and final out.  Here’s what Armando Galaragga had to say to the media following the game:

“He really feel bad. He probably feel more bad than me,” Galarraga told Fox Sports Detroit. “Nobody’s perfect, everybody’s human. I understand. I give a lot of credit to the guy saying, ‘Hey, I need to talk to you because I really say I’m sorry.’ That don’t happen. You don’t see an umpire after the game say I’m sorry.”

That’s pretty awesome.  Forget teaching kids how to be graceful and accept the things that you simply cannot control, most adults, myself included, can learn a ton from the way Galaragga dealt with this situation.  Today, he was allowed to deliver the lineup card to Joyce (who was behind the plate for this afternoon’s game).  The ump was clearly moved to tears as he stood there in front of the sports world, next to the man he cheated out of an incredible feat.  The two embraced as tenderly as two macho dudes can.  Galarraga was perfect on Wednesday.  Both men were perfect today.

Late today, MLB commissioner Bud Selig declined to right this wrong after the fact, which doesn’t surprise me at all.  It’s a slippery slope to alter any facet of a game after the fact, but I don’t think even the batter, Jason Donald, would be upset to have that infield single stripped from his record book to officially name Galarraga the 21st member of the exclusive perfect game club.

If your kids ask you about this drama, tell ’em mistakes happen even to the best of ’em but what matters most is how you react to disappointment.  If your little one learns to act 1/2 as mature and cool as Armando Galarraga when things go haywire, that’d be absolutely perfect.

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