When I was coaching my kids in Little League, I was always looking for role models … major leaguers who exemplified sportsmanship.
A few days ago, I think I found a couple,
Amidst the usual bombardment of catastrophic news, umpire Jim Joyce seemed to be contending with BP CEO Tony Hayward for "America's Worst Person of the Week," when he blew a call that ruined Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galerraga's perfect game
It was looking like just another depressing news story when something shocking occurred: The umpire admitted his mistake and … and apologized.
"It was the biggest call of my career and I kicked the s--- out of it. I just cost that kid a perfect game," he said.
He didn't make up excuses, didn't say the devil made him do it, didn't announce that he was going into umpire rehab.
How old-fashioned! Nobody takes responsibility and sincerely apologizes anymore (often on advice of their attorneys).
But what about the victim? The wronged pitcher? He forgave the umpire, saying "Nobody's perfect."
"You don't see an umpire after the game come out and say 'Hey, let me tell you I'm sorry.' He felt really bad," said Galarraga.
Such an act of grace, class and maturity is so rare in these contentious times no one quite knew what to do! General Motors presented Galarraga with a Corvette.
Before the teams' next game, Joyce and Galarraga met at home plate, the umpire wiping away tears, and many Detroit fans cheering them both … even the fans were showing sportsmanship!
One man admits his mistake, the victim forgives him. That shouldn't be news … but these days is.