Despite all the controversy and repeated airings of the historically disputed play at first base, the ultimate effect of Armando Galarraga’s almost-perfect, perfect game seems to have been an outbreak of good sportsmanship.
Of course Galarraga has quickly established himself as a stand-up guy with his reaction to the call and his level-headedness when dealing with the aftereffects. That in and of itself is impressive. In fact, when compared to certain other players known for their general lack of sportsmanship (yes, I am once again looking at you, A-Rod), Galarraga comes across as a role model for anyone taking up the sport.
His behavior has been contagious, too. First, the ump apologized for the blown call. Then the two of them appeared together at the start of the next day’s game and acted as though the events had somehow brought them closer. But this is where things really start to get weird.
In following the career of Hugo Chavez, a Venezuelan who also aspired to play professional baseball, I have never been struck by a sense of restraint. El Presidente says what he wants and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade (or a president an ignoramus — or worse depending on how you translate the word Chavez actually used). But even Hugo seems to have been affected by Galarraga’s magnanimity saying in his weekly address that it was simply a mistake before moving on.
Wait a minute! There wasn’t even a claim that the imperial oppressor had done its worst to hold down a poor Venezuelan? Nope. Like I said, Galarraga’s demeanor easily cooled what could have been an incendiary situation and that seems to have also cooled off what are normally much hotter heads.
So, once again, here’s to you, Armando Galarraga. In a world of fiery tempers and sorely lacking graciousness, you are the new anti A-Rod.
Thanks to L for the news on Chavez’s broadcast and the gist of the article.