Another Write-wing Conspirator

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  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

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    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

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    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

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  • About this “curmudgeon” guy…

    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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A Serendipitous (and improbable) Re-emergence of Grace

Posted by The Curmudgeon on June 3, 2010

Armando Galarraga makes lemonade on the mound

As a lifelong lover of baseball whose recent passion for the game could be best compared with the faith of a lapsed Catholic, I may have just been serendipitously provided with the impetus to rekindle that love—via arguably the most improbable of routes.

Even as I was preparing the entry I’d planned to post today, a convergence of fate involving Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, his manager Jim Leyland, and umpire Jim Joyce re-focused my attention on the nation’s pastime for the first time in years.

For those who missed it, Galarraga was one out away last night from what many consider the most difficult achievement in baseball: The Perfect Game. To conclude the saga, the Cleveland Indians’ Jason Donald smacked a routine grounder between first and second, and Galarraga himself covered the play at first; his tag beat Donald by a full step. Twenty-seven up, twenty-seven down. Instant immortality. Clear a space in Cooperstown. Break out the champagne.

…at least, that’s how the game should have ended.

To the dismay of a stunned crowd, Galarraga’s gem-to-be vanished when umpire Jim Joyce called Donald “safe” at first.

And this, my friends, is where the real story begins.

Predictably, Tigers manager Jim Leyland appeared on the field to protest Joyce’s call. Managers do that. It’s part of their job. A veteran of many such on-field counseling sessions, Leyland was vociferous in registering his complaint, of course—as he should have been—but not in an overly-dramatic Billy Martin sort of way. He did it with just the right amount of righteous indignation.

Just as predictably, Joyce stood by his call. Umpires do that—and Joyce has been at this game for over twenty years, himself. He was equally steadfast, as umpires always are. He made his fraction-of-a-second call, and was absolutely certain of his accuracy—just as he had been countless times before.

And Galarraga? Other than that initial knee-jerk look of disbelief, he showed little reaction. No whining, complaining, or throwing equipment around. Rather, he remained poised, returned to the mound, and retired the next batter as if nothing had happened.

Joyce had blown the call, as we all know by now; videotape clearly showed that. Galarraga had been denied his moment in the sun in what has to have been one of the most crushing moments in the history of the game.

Fan reaction has fallen just short of forming a lynch mob to dispatch Joyce. Pundits have renewed calls for instant-replay decisions. Commissioner Bud Selig’s telephone has no doubt been busy with calls for him to reverse Joyce’s call.

They’re all missing the sweetest part of the story.

After the game, a calm Jim Leyland acknowledged what the videotape had revealed—but was almost eerily charitable toward the embarrassed umpire, saying that Joyce had made a mistake, but had established a long reputation as a good umpire. He termed the incident “a crying shame,” empathizing with his victimized pitcher. And he indicated that it was time to move on. “That’s baseball.”

Joyce was clearly shaken by his error. “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” he said afterward. “I thought he (Donald) beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

Joyce then took a very manly step: he sought out Galarraga and apologized for his mistake. (Note that umpires are not well-known for doing this.)

And Galarraga? The guy who had just been robbed of a perfect game? The guy who had every right to be livid? The guy who we’d expect to want to get his hands around Joyce’s throat?

Galarraga seemed to feel sorry for the guy. When Joyce apologized, Galarraga actually hugged him and said: “Nobody’s perfect.”

Spare me. Men like these simply don’t exist anymore—and this kind of stuff only happens in sappy movies.

People don’t admit mistakes; they deny and obfuscate. When wronged, they scream loud and long. And nobody shows the kind of class Galarraga has shown. Somebody please awaken me from this bizarre dream.

I years ago largely turned my back on baseball, weary of player strikes, childish on-field (and off-field) antics, salaries that bordered on scandalous, greedy owners, and lackluster play from those who were supposed to be the best in the sport (who wants to see a guy get paid a zillion dollars per season just to bat .220 and wave forlornly at ground balls that pass him by?). And things only seemed to get worse: high-profile brushes with the law, substance abuse, steroid-laced performance…you name it.

And now? Hell, I almost feel like the aforementioned lapsed Catholic whose faith has been restored. Yes, it was an unfortunate incident—and one’s heart has to go out to Armando Galarraga. And I even feel bad for Jim Joyce; consider all the calls he’s made that weren’t questioned. The guy’s good. As Jim Leyland observed, that is baseball. Years ago, a somewhat crude expression crept into the lexicon: “Shit happens.” Crude or not, that pretty well sums it up.

But what really sets this event apart…its saving grace…what I find ironically heartening…is the comportment of those involved—especially Galarraga. Heavens to Murgatroyd, what class! (For the younger readers…that’s an old expression, common in an era just preceding the era in which such grace ceased to be common.) By their actions, these guys just might gain more-lasting fame than they would have had the correct call been made. Certainly, the whole affair is destined to be immortalized in the burgeoning annals of baseball lore.

I feel a sudden craving for a hot dog and a beer, and strangely yearn to hear that crack of a bat.

________

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2 Responses to “A Serendipitous (and improbable) Re-emergence of Grace”

  1. Bill Woodard said

    Jim,
    Great story.
    Bill

  2. LarryZ said

    These men show class, dignity, and restraint.In a word used so seldomly these days…..”honorable”.
    LCZ

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