Any milestone in life is memorable, your first kiss, a great concert, a fun experience with friends, graduating from high school; the list goes on. Armando Galarraga had his milestone. A milestone which would put him in the company with only 20 others in Major League Baseball history, most recently Mark Buehrle, Dallas Braden, and just this past weekend, Roy Halladay. Perfect games, although as of late are popping up more often are incredibly rare. One of the things that makes baseball so unique is any day you attend a game, you can witness something nobody has ever seen.
So naturally those in attendance at tonight's Tigers game at Detroit's Comerica Park did not anticipate witnessing history, especially on the shoulder of mediocre starting pitcher Armando Galarraga. But, tonight they were stripped of that. They were stripped of a joyous moment to share with their family, friends, and others they have yet to meet. Maybe a young fan was in attendance tonight and in five years could have met his future wife on the talks of being at the game this evening.
All of this was mercilessly turned when veteran umpire Jim Joyce called Jason Donald safe on what was not even much of a bang bang play. This is a play that 1,000 out of 1,000 times Major League umpires should get right. The joy that must have entered Galarraga for merely a few seconds may be worth what Joyce unnecessarily took away from him.
This isn't a matter of right or wrong, it's a matter of responsibility. As the recent showing by Major League umpires such as "Country" Joe West and Bill Hohn have portrayed to the world. They think people pay money to see them. People do not attend baseball games to see umpires call balls and strikes, and especially do not go to see them make incorrect plays.
One of the reasons I love baseball is that baseball is a game played by human beings. Not yellow flags and up until last season not video reviews. My entire thought process changed after tonight, I am mentally and physically distraught over what I witnessed this evening. This is a chance at history that in all likelihood will never come around again for Mr. Galarraga. Understanding that it is only a game, and one in which children play there isn't a reason to really let this ruin my day. But baseball is my passion and my love, not cars or money, baseball. I wake up everyday and live and breathe baseball. I have about as easy a time recognizing Alex Cora as I would Lady Gaga.
I know baseball inside and out and I know that this is wrong. I know that all those in attendance are going home feeling they missed out on history. History was made tonight, but not the kind of history you want. This is another black eye for a sport that really cannot take another one. This is worse than the steroid era, why? Because, although they caused bodily harm to those who took them and tainted the game, they did what sports are meant to do, entertain.
Sports are there to allow you to forget about your daily life, your 9-5 or your bad relationship. Sports are meant to entertain, and win or lose you know there is always tomorrow. However, tomorrow will be a new era in baseball. June 2, 2010 was the last day of the human error. The last day in which I can honestly say I love baseball for what it is. The last day in which technology will not be taken into account for this sport which so many fathers and sons spend lazy sunday's chatting about. No, that's all over. But we should all just do what Armando himself did, when Joyce blew the call smile and remember, it's only a game. And although the ominous cloud now rests above our weary baseball loving heads, they'll play nine tomorrow.
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