Thursday, June 3, 2010
Grace and Responsibility
Last night a baseball pitcher for the Detroit Tigers came within one out of a “perfect game”. A perfect game is when the pitcher faces the minimum number of batters in a game. In other words, the pitcher faces 27 batters and all 27 do not reach first base for any reason. To pitch a perfect game is very difficult. As a matter of fact, there have only been 20 perfect games thrown in the history of baseball (over 100 years). There is a great honor for a pitcher to throw a perfect game and will often be the highlight of that pitchers entire career. Why am I talking about baseball and perfect games?
The pitcher last night, Armando Galarraga, was one out away from throwing a perfect game. On the last (27th) out of the game there was a close play at first base. Replays showed that the runner was out. However, the umpire called the runner safe. Thus, Galarraga lost his attempt at a perfect game through a bad call by the umpire. Galarraga got the next batter out ending the game. His teammates and manager accosted the umpire as he was leaving the field because they had seen the replays in the clubhouse that showed the batter was out. Galarraga, said nothing.
This is where I believe the story gets interesting.
In an interview after the game, Galarraga simply said “He (the umpire) probably felt more bad than me," Galarraga said. Smiling, he added, “Nobody’s perfect.” A blown call had just cost him a chance at baseball immortality. His name would be included with the greats of baseball and it was taken away from him. But he did not complain; he did not trash the umpire; he did not throw a fit; he simply responded with grace and dignity. That tells me more about the man than a baseball game. To show grace in that situation is a wonderful example for all of our children (and adults) within the school system. On the other side of the coin, the umpire responded with incredible forthrightness. After the game, once he saw the replay he immediately went and personally apologized to Galarraga and his manager. He then faced the national media and admitted his mistake; “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” Joyce told reporters in Detroit. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay. It was the biggest call of my career.” He took responsibility for the call and admitted his mistake. His reaction tells me more about the man than one bad call. By taking responsibility and admitting a mistake the umpire set an example for kids to follow. How the pitcher and the umpire handled this situation isa model for behavior that all of should follow. I hope that RASD will teach students grace and responsibility through actions by the adults in the system and not merely in a theoretical sense.
Posted by Tom Butler at 7:58 AM