I’m not a big sports’ fan, but even I couldn’t ignore it. Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga was set to pitch the perfect game, and an umpire’s bad call brought it all to an unbelievable end.
There’s talk about the ump being fired, or the commissioner reversing the call. Of course instant-replay is being brought up as well.
There are a lot of (rightfully) disappointed fans, and I understand that. I can only imagine how upset Galarraga must be. But can we even imagine what umpire Jim Joyce is feeling?
He watched the replay after the game, and instantly saw – and admitted – his error. He apologized publicly and privately, even making an unusual post-game visit to the Tiger locker room. There’s really not much else he can do. He could retire and go into seclusion, but that wouldn’t change the mistake he made, or its outcome.
I can’t help but feel bad for the guy. Can you imagine making such a mistake? We all make mistakes, every day. While most of us don’t have jobs that are televised (like Mr. Joyce’s) some of us do have jobs in which a mistake could cost someone his life. Even those of us run-of-the-mill types whose mistakes don’t seem to matter much to anyone know what it’s like to screw up on occasion knowing we can’t redeem ourselves.
Joyce must be suffering incredibly today. But no one seems to care about that. They only care that they were “robbed,” that his humanness harmed them all so horribly.
I’m hoping Detroiters will be able to keep this in perspective. It’s true that a no-hitter for Galarraga (which would’ve been the first in Tiger history) might’ve been a boost for the city’s morale. It’s true that Joyce made a huge error. But it’s also true that this world is an unfair, fallen place in which mistakes get made all the time.
Life will go on, and while we might remember that baseball game with the No-Hitter That Might’ve Been and the Umpire That Messed Up, it will likely haunt Joyce every day of his life.
Is it possible that we might show some forgiveness and compassion for him? Further, might we show that same forgiveness for those who have messed up our lives with their mistakes?
Sounds like a tough task. Good thing we’ve got the ultimate example in Jesus.