Major League Baseball umpire Jim Joyce made the wrong call Wednesday night and ruined Armando Galarrago’s shot at pitching a perfect game. In the end, everyone hates the Ump, without realizing the sort of blatant error Joyce made is precisely why baseball is so pristine as America’s pastime.
Baseball is not a mechanical game and its very imprecision in the quest for perfection is what makes us all humble in the playing and in the cheering as we hold thumbs together and wish for The Perfect Game, batting a thousand, and having the best record in baseball; but our teams are required to fail us in the end, and in that disappointment, we find ourselves in the midst of our own imperfect lives that we still forever try to forget and whittle away into something memorable, perfect, and memeingful.
We reveal definition of the mind and contour of the spirit in our mistakes — our perfections earn us nothing but admiration — and that is why we should be all be celebrating Jim Joyce instead of calling on the Commissioner of Baseball to step in and reverse the bad call and award Galarrago his perfect game after the game was played.
To artificially force facts — after the fact — into what is an already on-the-record truth of the moment belies every good intention of baseball.
Baseball can be summarized in a single sentence: “Get the ball away from the other team.” Precisely how we achieve that end in runs scored and batters retired is inexhaustibly more complicated.
Baseball is the most human of all the sports because there are so many value judgments that control the way the game is won and lost — calling balls and strikes, the infield fly rule, safe or out at home, the double switch — are all examples of how the human mind is challenged to recreate slivers of truth in impossible instants.
In Jim Joyce’s error, we are able to rediscover our own, flawed, humanity — and for that, we must thank him for the reminder of how difficult it is to live a proper life when we judge each other in the breath of milliseconds while machines perpetuate those fractionary moments over and over and over again in the bloodshot public eye of our social consciousness for the rest of eternity.