Hi, it’s Big Al.  Won’t you sing along with me?  On three.  1, 2, 3…

Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out with the crowd,

Buy me some peanuts and VALIUM AND ANTI-DEPRESSANTS!!!

Poor Tiger’s pitcher Armando Galarraga!  Poor Tiger fans. Wow!  What a memorable night at Comerica Park!  On what should have been the 27th consecutive out and a perfect game for Galarraga over Cleveland, an umpire’s call turned a game that should have been a “Field of Dreams” into a NIGHTMARE on Elm Street!  Veteran umpire Jim Joyce publicly admitted after seeing the replay he “BLEW IT” when he called Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first base on an infield hit.  Joyce said, and I quote, “I just cost that kid a perfect game”.  But ONLY after he saw the replay.  We should all be so lucky to have a chance to rewind our lives to make a wrong a right.  Look, I’m not going to describe that fateful play in detail because those replays are EVERYWHERE!  And speaking of replays…

In baseball, home runs can be reviewed to make sure they were indeed home runs.  But there are no rules in place to overturn a play other than a home run.  However, there is talk today that Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig could intervene.  Not sure if this is accurate, but the story is circulating.  But the damage has been done.  Even if time is turned back, Galarraga can’t go back and feel that moment of incomparable exhilaration.  He can’t be mobbed by the players in front of screaming fans.  (Although his teammates did douse him with beer in the locker room calling it a ”28 out perfect game”.)  So what’s left to do?  Some observations:

-  Bravo for Umpire Jim Joyce for admitting his mistake and not just to the press.  After the game he personally went to Galarraga and apologized.  He will carry the pain of blowing that call the remainder of his life.  I hope the public will cut him some slack.

-  Bravo to Manager Jim Leyland for his class remarks after the game.  He invoked the “to err is human” philosophy and praised Jim Joyce for being a very good umpire over the last 23 years.

-  And perhaps most importantly, a HUUUUUUGE bravo to Armando Galarraga for being such a gentlemen in the heat of the moment.  He knows he pitched a perfect game, but he forgave the umpire for not being perfect.

The irony is, this “NON-PERFECT-SHOULD-HAVE-BEEN-A-PERFECT-GAME” Game will probably get more attention and be talked about more than any other perfect game in baseball history.  I have to agree with Matt Lauer, who this morning on the TODAY Show said that while Galarraga’s misfortune is painful, there just may be a valuable lesson in this for kids about sportsmanship.  I’m an old sweet and sensitive sap, but I agree whole-heartedly.  Life is not perfect and last night we were all reminded that we humans aren’t either.  Although in my opinion Heidi Klum comes close.  Sorry, I digress.  Let’s just say that on a perfect night a less than perfect moment gave us a perfect example about what life is really all about.  Our beloved Ernie Harwell once said:  “Baseball is a lot like life.  It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs.  You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”  Ernie is most certainly looking down from Heaven today, smiling, knowing that in the end, “the game” will always give you more than it takes away.  As Ernie would say:  “That’s baseball.”  I hope I have at least made myself “perfectly” clear.  So…

Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out with the crowd,

Buy me some peanuts and hopefully some peace of mind for Armando Galarraga and Umpire Jim Joyce!


I’m Big Al Muskavito.  Now go out and have a perfect day…or at least come close.