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There’s Nothing Wrong With a One Hitter

In fact, it’s miraculous.

So, yeah. This happened:

We, the internets, are now going absolutely bonkers over this. People are calling for the instant replay to be instituted. The New York Times and Keith Olbermann, among others, are calling for MLB to overturn the call, scrub the record, and award Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

I’ve been searching to find the words to describe how I feel about this. John C. McGinley has summed it up perfectly (fast forward to about the 1:45 mark).

The call should stand. Was it wrong? Ouch, yeah. As a Detroiter I want to gnaw my arm off. Does it suck? Of course it sucks. Detroit needs all the good news it can get.

Should we beg and plead with Bud Selig to scrub the history books?

Nope.

Three things: there’s a lot of bad calls in sports. We try to reduce the number of them with instant replays, but there are always going to be blown calls. Sometimes the guy was in the crease, sometimes the ball didn’t break the plane. Sometimes we don’t realize that until after its over. You make the exception for Galarraga (and there’s no more deserving candidate) and people will be screaming for exceptions from here on out. Teams and players will look for games to be overturned, decisions to be overruled and milestones to be awarded because something that shouldn’t have gotten screwed up was. And that’ll cheapen the whole thing. Galarraga doesn’t seem to be complaining. He’s handling this whole thing pretty well, from what I’ve read. We should show the same grace and sportsmanship.

Two: Baseball is sport. It’s about winning. It’s what makes it more enjoyable to watch that figure skating. It doesn’t matter how pretty your technique is. It doesn’t matter if your form is perfect. It doesn’t matter if you just made the most beautiful goal in history or got lucky ricocheting the puck off someone’s head. Sports involves luck. Sometimes you win ugly. Sometimes the points come through sheer stupidity. But what matters at the end of the day is that the Tigers won the game, not by how much (unless we’re talking about NCAA Football, which clings to its bullshit “yeah…but did they win the game with STYLE?” BCS system). Sure, sometimes we get sidetracked, and we get impressed with a perfection. Who doesn’t. But that’s not what the game is, or should be, about.

Which leads me to three: Jim Joyce’s bad call doesn’t take anything away from Galarraga’s accomplishment. HE RETIRED 26 BATTERS. That’s incredible. He won the game for his team almost single-handedly. An ump made a bad call that had nothing to do with Galarraga’s ability as a pitcher, and had zero outcome on the final score of the game. Everyone knows the runner wasn’t safe at first. Galarraga knows it, Joyce knows it, the planet knows it. Letting the call stand does not in the slightest reduce the spectacular nature of Galarraga’s accomplishment. Nothing can.

There’s nothing wrong with pitching a one hitter. In fact, it’s miraculous.

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