bIt was one of the worst calls in baseball history. Last night umpire Jim Joyce robbed Detroit Tiger's pitcher Armando Galarraga of a place in baseball history when he blew a call with two out in the top of the ninth inning. The batter hit a ball to the right of first baseman Miguel Cabrera and he went over and picked it up and threw it to Galarraga. With a step and a half to spare he made the play. As the runner crossed the base the umpire signaled that he was safe to the utter amazement of the players, the crowd and even the hitter. Despite an argument from the manager and several players, the umpire refused to change his call.
After the game umpire Jim Joyce checked the video replay and saw that the runner was clearly out. In a gracious gesture, he went to Armando and apologized and said he blew the call and cost him the perfect game.
In the hours since the blown call, both Galarraga and Joyce have showed themselves to be classy gentlemen. As a matter of fact, so did the whole Tiger organization. Manager Jim Leyland and several players openly forgave Joyce and said they felt for him. Today Leyland sent Galarrag out with the lin-eup card to meet the umpires and Joyce hugged him. Then the Tiger's owner Mike Illitch presented Armando with a brand new Corvette convertible to congratulate him on his tremendous pitching feat.
The whole thing could be dissected and used for for numerous sermon illustrations. The truth is that many of us have had similar experiences. We have done everything right but someone's mistake has cost us an opportunity. It is so unfair but it is life. We live in a fallen world. We are subject to the sins and errors of others. By the same token, by grace we sometimes experience blessings we don't deserve.
The best thing we can do is give life our best. Armando Galarraga picked up the ball and went right back to the mound. He threw ball and got the next man out. He won the game and that is what really mattered. The apostle Paul says that running the race... doing our best to the finish line is what matters most. I hope when I find myself in a similar position, I will remember stories like this and look to God and ask him for the grace to continue on to my own reward.