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Galarraga and Joyce: Class Acts

Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers hands the lineup card to home plate umpire Jim Joyce prior to the start of yesterday's game with the Cleveland Indians in Detroit which the Tigers won 12-6.

Jim Leyland showed how much he respected umpire Jim Joyce who missed the call that prevented Armando Galarraga from recording the third perfect game of the season by sending Galarraga to the plate with the lineup card for the Tigers.

Joyce took the field visibly shaken and in tears the day after making the incorrect call of what should have been the last play of a Galarraga perfect game. When he shook hands with Galarraga at home plate yesterday it was a touching moment that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

With this gesture they both showed they are class acts. I can’t praise Galarraga enough for his composure after the incident. I can’t help but root for Galarraga after he showed great restraint after the bad call. He went back to the mound and retired the last batter. I have seen a lot of pitchers implode after losing a perfect game or a no-hitter in the ninth inning.

For Joyce to admit he made a bad call after the game tells me he is not the arrogant umpire some have become who seem to be spoiling for a fight and why MLB is cracking down on those umpires with an agenda that includes baiting players.

Joyce was born in Toledo, Ohio and will celebrate his 55th birthday in October. He started umpiring in the Midwest League in 1978. He now lives in Oregon with his wife and two kids. He was upset with fans who brought his wife and kids into the controversy over the call.

He had this to say about Galarraga after the game yesterday:

“I didn’t expect,” to see him, said Joyce, who choked up after the game recounting the moment. “That shows me a lot of class. The sportsmanship that he holds in his inner being is right there with the best of them.”


Galarraga made this statement about Joyce:

“Nobody is perfect,” Galarraga said again Thursday. “Inside of my heart, I don’t have any problem.”

Galarraga was born in Venezuela and is now 28 years old. He was signed by the Montreal Expos at the age of 16 in 1998.  He didn’t play his first professional game till the age of 19 with the Gulf Coast League Expos and played for them the next three seasons.

Later on he would play in the Washington Nationals organization before being included in the trade that sent Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals with Galarraga, Termel Sledge and Brad Wilkerson being traded to the Rangers.

He was 23 before he played his first AA game with Harrisburg of the Eastern League in 2005.  He started playing in the Rangers organization in 2006 but compiled a 1-10 record that season. He rebounded to post a 11-8 record in 2007.

Galarraga was then traded to the Detroit Tigers for Michael Hernandez in 2008 and finally reached the major leagues ten years after signing with the Expos. He was 13-7 for them in 2008 but fell off to a 6-10 record in 2009.

After starting the 2010 season with Toledo (ironically the birthplace of Jim Joyce) of the International League he made his first start of the season for the Tigers with a 5-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on May 16.

He is currently 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA. He makes his next start against the White Sox on Tuesday and will be facing Gavin Floyd in Chicago.





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2 thoughts on “Galarraga and Joyce: Class Acts

  1. Ron Sayles on said:

    This is what baseball should be, not Mark McGwire, not Balco Bonds, not Roger Clemens or any of the other steroid babies. Joyce showed me a lot, Galarraga showed me a lot, the Detroit Tigers showed me a lot and the Detroit fans showed me a lot. I could almost become a fan again if this were to prevail, but I know better.

  2. The thing that made this work out so well between Galarraga and Joyce was that Galarraga understood Joyce making a mistake and found it in his heart to forgive him. No telling what would have happened if hotheaded pitcher would have lost his perfect game on a bad call. Just think if this had happened to Roger Clemens. He would have told the catcher to move on the next pitch and hit Joyce with the ball.

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