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Detroit Shows Class in Armando Galarraga's Bad Fortune

Detroit Tiger's pitcher, Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game on Wednesday night. Only twenty pitchers have thrown a perfect game before him in the history of Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, Galarraga will not go down in history as the twenty first. After twenty-six straight outs, Jason Donald hit a simple ground ball that Cabrera fielded cleanly and threw the ball to first base. The ball beat Donald to the base by almost a full step with Galarraga's foot clearly on the base. What was an obvious out and the first perfect game ever thrown for Detroit never happened as the first base umpire, Jim Joyce called Donald safe. The call was so bad, that once Joyce saw the replay on the big screen, he actually walked up to Galarraga and apologized as he admitted the mistake.

Armando Galarraga show how classy he was instantly when the call was made. He did not get in Joyce's face. He did not throw his hat down and get in his face. He smiled. He know how bad the call was and smiled at the absurdness of it.

Joyce showed himself to be a class act as an umpire when he admitted his mistake and apologized to Galarraga. He showed what he was made of again when he chose to umpire the next days game rather than pull out of the action. I am sure he was expecting the fans to let him have it. He probably wouldn't have been surprised if the fans threw cups and stuff at him. He showed how sorry he was when he shed tears at home plate today when Armando Galarraga brought the line-up card to the plate for Jim Leyland.

The Detroit fans showed a lot of class in the way they acted when Joyce took his position behind the plate in today's game. Other than a smattering of boos mixed in among the many more cheers of confidence, the fans did not let him have it as would have been expected in this situation. Likely, if this had happened in any other stadium, the fans would have rode him out of the stadium. In some places the fans would have been throwing things at him.

If Joyce would have made the right call, it would have been a special moment in Detroit Baseball history. It would have been an even more special moment in the life of Armando Galarraga. But with the bad call, in its own way, this has become a moment as special as any I can remember in Detroit Sports. If the bad call was never made, it would have been great that a Tiger pitcher had a perfect game. That would have always been remembered. With the bad call however, and the way Galarraga and the fans handled themselves, I am even more proud to be a Detroit Tiger fan. I have even more respect for Galarraga as a person for how he has been so forgiving. As it all happened, there is a sense of pride that has swelled inside of me that makes me proud of the Tigers, proud of Galarraga and proud of the other fans.

We will always know that Galarraga threw that perfect game. We will always remember the perfect game that wasn't. But today we can be proud to be fans of the Detroit Tigers and Armando Galarraga for reasons far more solid than a statistic or a special feat. We can be proud of how classy the team and the player has handled such a blow. We can be proud of how forgiving the team, the player and the fans can be. Yes, we can even be proud to have had an umpire who was man enough to admit the mistake and apologize. Today, I am proud to be a fan.

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