Props to a group of good sports


Three cheers for Jim Joyce, Armando Galarraga and the baseball fans who’ve supported the pair through a very difficult past few days.

Galarraga, you may recall, was one out from pitching a perfect game on June 2, only to have Joyce rule Cleveland Indians’ Jason Donald safe at first base on what would have been the game-ending play.

Replays across the continent over the past two days have shown that Donald was clearly beaten by a step to the bag and Joyce had, therefore, blown the call.

But a few amazing things happened on the way to Joyce joining long-chastised umpire Don Denkinger  — he of the call in Game Six of the 1985 World Series that screwed the St. Louis Cardinals — on the list of all-time umping goats.

First — and most importantly for Joyce’s credibility — the umpire watched the replay immediately following the game, recognized his mistake and made his way to the Tigers’ clubhouse, where he tearfully embraced Galarraga and apologized profusely.

The second amazing occurence is credited to Galarraga, who not only accepted Joyce’s apology whole-heartedly, but has repeatedly praised him over the past two days for being honest, humble and forthright about the call.

Finally, fans in both Detroit and Cleveland deserve credit for speaking out on Joyce’s behalf and crediting him for manning-up on his mistake. Sure, there have been the usual death threats, but fanatics are always going to exist, no matter what the sporting issue is. By-and-large, this has turned into a positive news story — something Major League Baseball could certainly use more of given its battered reputation brought on by years of ugly steroid scandals and poor player behaviour.

Hats off to Joyce, Galarraga and their supporters. It’s nice to be able to have something good to say about what could have been a large black-eye for Major League Baseball.

And I’ll leave the issue of increased use of instant replay in the majors that has risen from this for another day. For now, let’s allow Joyce and Galarraga to heal. This story is about more than just baseball; it’s about human fallibility and forgiveness.


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