Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lessons Learned in Error

Even if you weren't among the 17,738 fans present at last night's Tigers vs Indians baseball game, you have likely heard the ripples of the '28-out perfect game' pitched by Armando Galarraga.

Calls for the resignation or firing of someone relying on their perception of a moment in time, are not warranted. The play was a classic 'bang-bang' play, that in real time would have been a difficult call for any observer. If you had the best seats at Comerica Park, this is how you might have witnessed sports history:

So what's a person to do?
Jim Joyce: When shown in slow-motion or freeze-frame, the 27th out is more obvious. So, after the game, in a move rarely seen among sports officials, first base umpire Jim Joyce chose to apologize in person, to the Detroit Tiger pitcher.

Armando Galarraga: Even as his greatest lifetime sports achievement vaporized, Armando Galarraga kept his aplomb. The disappointed pitcher closed out the game, and later chose to accept Joyce's apology. At today's game, Galarraga was slated to deliver the line-up card to today's home plate umpire, Jim Joyce... I hope they each received a warm ovation.

Bud Selig: As Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig has the authority to overturn the ruling on the field, and to award the baseball's 21st perfect game to Galarraga. Whether or not he chooses to do so, the story of this game, and it's aftermath will forever be a part of the history of baseball, a game values tradition above all else.

Whether or not Selig chooses to correct the umpire's error, I think that this sports event can be seen as a win-win-win. Joyce should be appreciated for acknowledging that though humans may err, they can also make amends; Galarraga and his teammates will be recognized for an incredible accomplishment; and the commissioner's office will be remembered either for righting a wrong; or for reminding us that there are many human elements in the American pastime.

So, why aren't you sharing this modern fable with your students? Surely there are lessons in this story worth sharing, aren't there?
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