Monday, June 7, 2010

Why America Needs Baseball

I think it was Ronald Reagan who once complained that there are not more happy, edifying stories in the news. Of course, generally, those stories don't attract readers. Murders, corruption, and earthquakes do.

But this is one the Gipper would have liked. Trust baseball to provide it. I thank my friend Warren Smith at World magazine for having the spiritual discernment to see it and write it.

Even if you don’t follow baseball, you may have heard the story.

On Wednesday, Detroit Tigers journeyman pitcher Armando Galarraga—whose 21-18 career record is hardly spectacular—was one out away from that rarest of baseball achievements: the so-called “perfect game.” Twenty-seven batters up and 27 down. It has been done only 20 times in major league baseball history.

Galarraga had retired 26 batters when the Cleveland Indians’ Jason Donald stepped into the batter’s box. Donald then sliced a grounder to the right side of the infield, forcing first baseman Miguel Cabrera to field the ball. Cabrera threw the ball to Galarraga, who ran over to cover first. Everyone in the ballpark knew Donald was out by a half step.

Everyone except umpire Jim Joyce. Joyce called Donald safe. The blown call ended Galarraga’s bid for major league baseball’s 21st perfect game.

What follows is a story of what Smith calls "character and grace." Right there on national display. "[T]he story of Galarraga and Joyce will, I predict, be told as long as the game is played, perhaps even as long as we imperfect human beings strive for and occasionally achieve moments of transcendence. And that’s why I love baseball."

Read Warren Cole Smith's story at, "Baseball's Transcendent Moment."

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