Armando Galarraga, Jim Joyce, plus Forgiveness & Grace

Last night Major League Baseball umpire Jim Joyce made one of the worst calls in baseball history.  His mistake at the end of the Detroit Tigers vs Cleveland Indians game cost Tiger’s pitcher Armondo Galarraga a perfect game.  A perfect game is nearly impossible and in all of MLB history there have only been 12.

With 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and one out away from becoming a baseball immortal by pitching a perfect game, Galarraga gets the final batter to ground out, BUT umpire Jim Joyce misses the call and calls the runner safe at first base. Replay after replay show the runner out. This should have been a recorded perfect game, but instead it will go down as a one hitter and Galarraga’s name won’t be added to the list of perfect games.

As sad as the whole situation was, I’m amazed at a couple of things that happened … pitcher Armondo Galarraga doesn’t scream or lose control, instead he keeps control even though he’s just been cheated out of a perfect game. Then after the game, umpire Jim Joyce admits he made a HUGE mistake, “It was the biggest call of my career, and I messed it up,” Joyce said, looking and sounding distraught as he paced in the umpires’ locker room. “I just cost that kid a perfect game.” Later in tears, Jim Joyce hugged Galarraga and apologized to him. Galarraga when asked if he was mad or bitter towards Joyce said, “You don’t see an umpire after the game come out and say, ‘Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry,”’ Galarraga said. “He felt really bad. He didn’t even shower. Nobody is perfect and everyone is human and makes mistakes.” Wow, that’s grace.

This all made me think of two things…

  1. How do you and I handle things when someone wrongs us? Armando turning the other cheek should be a pretty strong inspiration for us. Someone once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” Armondo Galarraga proved to me today, he’s a strong man.
  2. When you blow a big call, and just flat screw up, are you willing to admit it?

I can learn a lot by watching others…

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Trey Morgan tagged this post with: , Read 1182 articles by
14 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Glenn says:

    Yup. Right on both accounts.

    (Now, if I could only forgive Don Denkinger.)

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Glenn, I had to go back and look up who Don Denkinger was. Maybe in a few years people will forget who Jim Joyce is.

      • Glenn says:

        Well, he’s still infamous among Card fans, and I’m just kidding (mostly) about not forgiving him.

        It’s bad when it’s simply known as “The Call” on Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Call ). I have a feeling Joyce’s call might replace it, at least for Detroit fans, although it wasn’t a WS game.

        The cool thing about Denkinger is that Whitey invites him back for reunion dinners for that 85 World Series team, http://bit.ly/a9N3jT

        • Trey Morgan says:

          I enjoyed reading up on a little baseball history on Denkinger. Thanks for bringing him up.

          • Glenn says:

            It’s good stuff. 85 and 87 were rough years for Card fans, but great baseball history.

            I actually have Don Denkinger’s baseball card on my desk at my office. A co-worker who’s a KC fan gave it to me. I had no idea they actually had baseball cards of umps.

            If you’re _really_ interested in some baseball history from the perspective of one of the best (and most colorful) managers of all time, this is a good read:
            http://www.amazon.com/Youre-Missin-Great-Whitey-Herzog/dp/0425174751

            (or maybe it’s only a good read if you’re a Cards fan … nah it’s still probably good.)

  2. Duane Scott says:

    Yep. I was fairly distraught when I saw this the first time. I didn’t know the back story to it though so thanks for sharing! What an amazing story of forgiveness. It shows that both men are good people.

  3. Donny Vaughn says:

    Trey, your post was exactly what I tweeted this morning about grace and forgiveness. Glad you didn’t replay the umpire’s post-game press conference or else you might have had some ‘splaining to do! BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP … guess Jim’s response will only have to be mentioned in a preacher’s sermon as opposed to being able to show the video! BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP. Good post!

  4. Greg England says:

    I called high school basketball for nearly 20 years (a far distance from major league baseball, I know) and I can tell you a half step in either direction can give you an entirely different view of a play. I’m not excusing Jim Joyce, but I just know the angle of view is the difference between the right call and the wrong call. I admire him for admitting he blew it, but if he KNEW he blew it, then he has no excuse. I’m just sayin’ …

  5. Jason Whittington says:

    Galarraga was the epitome of graceful about the whole situation. And from later reports, Joyce didn’t sleep a wink that night. I’ve never felt sorry for an ump before! lol Incidentally, there have been 20 perfect games in MLB history, 2 in this month alone! Actually 3…

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Interesting … I looked up how many perfect games and one site said 12. Not that I’ve checked again … you’re right, it is 20. Most important though, was how all this was handled… which was very gracefully.

  6. shaun says:

    Trey, I love your blog. When I saw this I thought of how good of a lesson this would be for our 8-12 yr old class at church. I think we will use you post in a lesson wednesday night if you dont mind.

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Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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