Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sportsmen of the Month: Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce


So I must be weird or something. When I first saw the realtime replay (meaning no slo-mo) of Jason Donald's foot meeting the bag at roughly the same time as that of Armando Galarraga, I thought it was a close play. Probably out, but a close play. However, first-base umpire Jim Joyce extended his arms to signal a safe runner.

Subsequently, the Detroit Tigers raised their arms and opened their mouths in bitter shock. Jim Leyland was apoplectic. The Tigers radio announcers went berzerk. The fans at Comerica booed effusively. The boys in Bristol cued up the replay to be reshown 3,000 times from 28 different angles. The nation's columnists and talking heads prepared their outrage, and so did the nation's sports fans.
And Armando Galarraga smiled.

He just stood their and smiled. Out of disappointment, out of frustration, out of hard luck, out of whatever emotion he was feeling, who knows. But the point was, he acted in such a foreign manner that 99.9 percent of us could never fathom expressing under the circumstances.

In the aftermath of Galarraga being, well, cheated out of joining the elusive MLB perfect game club, he never said an ill word toward Joyce, toward the umpires, toward Miguel Cabrera (who had tossed Galarraga the ball perhaps a tad casually), toward God, toward karma, toward anyone. He just took life as it happened, like a gentleman.

In the aftermath of Joyce's bang-bang call cheating Galarraga's perfection, he never uttered an excuse. Never got on the defensive. Never tried to stammer some half-baked reason for his call. He simply saw the replay, knew he screwed up, and dug into his internal resources for something that way, WAY too many people in this world don't comprehend.

He was accountable. He made a mistake, he owned up to it, and he apologized.

Isn't that what sports is all about? Nay ... isn't that what LIFE is all about???

I'm also weird for thinking that this story was completely overblown. If Joyce had made a bad call in the 12th inning of Game 7 of the World Series, I'd be screaming for universal instant replay like everyone else. But this, to me, doesn't fit the bill. Wins and losses and championships count more than personal achievements.

I'm also weird for thinking that Bud Selig did the right thing by upholding the call and not reversing Joyce's decision, thus officially keeping Galarraga out of the archives as a perfect-game pitcher. Talk about opening a can of worms the size of Mongolia if Selig had done that (and I'm not a Selig fan by any means).

So this was a story that filled the airspace for a good week or two. But what's splendid is, it only lives on not in a negative light by Joyce's mistake or the instant replay controversy.

It lives on because of the sportsmanship, the integrity, and the high character two men showed on and after June 2. Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce had a beautiful story written about them by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci in June.

Wouldn't surprise me if there was another story penned in 6 months. One of the SOTY variety.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

News and Views

I could sit here and just pretend I have been a terrible co-blogger, but that would be disrespectful to AJ. I have failed you all, but I offer you this post and hope you will forgive me.

Germany smothers England | Refs miss goal
If you only read the first three words, you may get flashbacks to 1941. God Bless the World Cup, one of the only sporting events where headlines could be misinterpreted as describing a war.

Disputed goal helps Argentina upend Mexico
Its true, Tevez was wayyyy offsides, and Mexico fell apart after that goal. But come on... Argentina is far and away the better team and I'm pumped to see them against Germany.

Sources: Nets to court Wade, Bosh after LeBron
Nets to court Wade... because they have no shot at Chicago bound Bosh and Lebron. Got this from Bill Simmons: "48 hours ago had Lebron at _125 and Bosh at +300 to sign with the Bulls. Now? Both are -500." VEGAS NEVER LIES

Rays' Longoria: Spat with Upton is over with
Nobody cares. The Rays are falling faster than BP's stock.

Johnson uses force to win in Loudon | Blount
Nascar.... blah blah blah.... Nascar.... blah blah... speed... blah... cars.

Red Sox KO Lincecum | Martinez breaks thumb
BOSox are playing some great baseball but Pedroia and Martinez injuries could be costly in that division.

U.S. scatters from WCup | Kobe proud of effort
I'm so glad Kobe is proud of our World Cup effort. Maybe if he was on the pitch we would have gotten some calls.

Nadal says knee feels OK after practice session
Yikes... hate to see him hurting. Tennis is only fun when Federer and Nadal are running at near 100%

Branyan returning to Seattle in M's-Indians deal
Who? And its the Mariners... they stink.

Lakers' Jackson weighs Karl's illness in decision
Would love to see Jackson leave LA behind and go coach Lebron or something. I just like change. Too bad that wont happen.

Other notes:
As of writing this, my Texas Rangers have closed into 1/2 of a game of the Yankees for the best record in baseball. Oh and the Yankees are losing in the 8th right now. I'm just saying.... well I dont know what I'm saying. The Rangers have great team chemistry and are playing great... great baseball.
I'm rooting for Argentina in the World Cup, because they are incredible to watch. If they dont win it, it would be awesome to see a team from outside of South America and Europe win it. Never happened before. Ghana... Japan? Would be cool, probably not happening but I'll root for the underdog.

Stay Classy,