As he left the office for his assignment to umpire at the NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament in North Carolina, MHSAA Assistant Director Mark Uyl quipped, “Just hoping I don’t appear on ESPN.” It’s Mark’s usual parting comment, for he knows that a good game for an official is one that does not make news.
Perhaps Mark jinxed the situation, because a few hours later, a good Major League Baseball umpire made a bad call, and it became the lead story on ESPN’s Sports Center when it cost our Detroit Tigers’ Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
Media everywhere, both sports-oriented and otherwise, added comments to the story. John Meacham did a super job with his angle in the June 14 issue of Newsweek as he contrasted this situation with responses to the Gulf oil spill. Tom Verducci and Melissa Segura hit a home run with their piece in the June 14 issue of Sports Illustrated titled "A Different Kind of Perfect." One of the best local pieces was on June 3 by Nate Thompson of the Grand Haven Tribune. It’s titled “It was a bad call, but let’s move on.” See grandhaventribune.com.
As a former English major who has just returned from Dublin, Ireland, home of the literary giant, James Joyce, I have taken special notice of the fact that the now infamous umpire shares the name of the famous poet and novelist, who wrote these words a century ago:
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today.
I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”
“Your battles inspire me – not the obvious material battles
but those fought and won behind your forehead.”