“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.”
That line is from a book that is near and dear to my heart. It was needed on the night of June 2, 2010, after a certain umpire, whose favorite song must be “I Am the Walrus,” ruined Armando Galarraga’s perfect game with a horrible call of “safe!” when it was obvious the opposite was true. It was a punch in the gut that I’m sure was felt by every fan of baseball, especially those who, like myself, grew up loving the Detroit Tigers.
Like every perceived injustice, all I could do was ask, “Why?” After five hours of deliberation, I lay tossing and turning in bed with no clue why a perfect game would be snatched from a pitcher who likely will never have a chance at accomplishing such a feat again. I then remembered the aforementioned quotation, along with another, that follows it later on the same page of the same book:
“Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake … When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.”
So why was Galarraga robbed? I think Col. Nathan Jessup summed it up best when he stated, in perjured testimony, “I don’t have the first damn clue.” What I do know is I’ve seen a lot of good things happen in the past 24 hours subsequent to the worst call in the history of regular season sports play.
I’ve seen an old manager and a young pitcher put a game that’s greater than they are above their own interests, and shine with absolute class. I’ve seen a depraved city rally around a player who, before last night, was just another guy with enough frequent busser miles accrued from trips between Detroit and Toledo to never have to pay Greyhound another fare for the rest of his life.
I’ve seen a major league umpire admit he was wrong about something, and have the courage to own the gravest of mistakes with absolute poise and humility. Are any of those things greater than baseball’s Holy Grail? I don’t know. But I do know that they are all fairly significant, for many different reasons. And I know that if Jim Leyland, Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga can accept the outcome of, “The Perfect Game That Wasn’t,” that I must do so as well.
And if nothing else, the next time Galarraga gets sent down to AAA (and believe me, that will happen), he won’t be taking the bus down I-75; he’ll be racing down it in a brand-new red Chevy Corvette. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
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