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The human element in baseball


It was the perfect game - that wasn't.

Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out from "baseball immortality" - from joining only 20 pitchers in the history of the game that have thrown a perfect game (retiring all 27 batters). But the 27th batter was called safe by umpire Jim Joyce, in what was clearly a blown call. Heartbreaking.

After the game, Joyce saw the video replay and admitted he was wrong and apologized profusely. Many fans were pissed off, calling for Joyce's head. A dumb debate over using instant replay to second-guess calls re-emerged. But the man who was most affected, Galarraga, did not complain. He was truly good-natured about it, and said he felt worse for Joyce, who fought back tears when they later spoke. 

Joyce's missed call reminds us that the game of baseball is filled with human error as well as achievement. And Galarraga's selfless response is an example of the best of human empathy and dignity. For that, he may be remembered more than many perfect-game pitchers who are in the record books.

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