Joyce, Galarraga and Leyland display class during hostile situation

Tiger fans have a right to be angry with umpire Jim Joyce, the man who ruined Armando Galarraga’s perfect game with a blown call during the top of the ninth inning on Wednesday night. But when the dust settles on this historic moment, hopefully even they can admit that Joyce has displayed class following the biggest mistake of his professional career.

On Thursday, Joyce was set to call balls and strikes behind the dish at Comerica Park for the third and final game of the Tigers-Indians series. When the Tigers were ready to turn in their lineup card, Detroit skipper Jim Leyland sent out none other than Galarraga to meet Joyce at home plate.

As Dave Hogg of the New York Daily News writes, Leyland planned the gesture in hopes of possibly defusing an angry Detroit crowd.

“Major League Baseball gave Jim a chance to take himself off this game, but he said he wanted to do the game and take whatever he got,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “That shows you what kind of man he is.”

“This is a chance for the city of Detroit to shine,” Leyland added. “I hope everyone remembers that this was a man who made a mistake, and who feels worse about it than anyone.”

Even though he has the right to be the most upset, Galarraga has perhaps shown the most class through all of this.

“I’m sad, because everyone knows I pitched a perfect game, but he is just a human being,” Galarraga said before the game. “He came over and apologized. I forgave him, and I gave him a hug. He made a mistake. That is all.”

There’s no doubt that Joyce made the wrong call and there are several replays that prove it. Personally, I don’t know how in that moment, when it’s a play that could have been called either way and would determine whether or not a pitcher could complete a perfect game, how Joyce could call the runner safe. But let’s keep things in perspective here.

Everyone needs to realize that it’s only a game. I love baseball and respect the sacredness of a perfect game. I’m also well aware that this could have been the only time that Galarraga will ever taste a moment like this. But again – this isn’t life or death. The fact that Joyce’s family is being attacked because of this shows how far we have to come as a society. It’s unfortunate that even through people’s anger, they can’t see that a man made a mistake.

I have nothing but respect for Galarraga, Leyland and yes, even Joyce. They’ve handled themselves with grace and poise.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts