The two stories grabbing headlines today in Major League Baseball is Ken Griffey Jr. retiring after 22 years in the Major Leagues and umpire Jim Joyce’s blown call at first base that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Both of these stories have main characters in them that are class acts.
Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement this week after 22 mostly brilliant seasons. Once thought to be on pace to rewrite the entire record books, injuries slowed him down in recent years and now his age is taking a toll on his body. He retires a Mariner where he started his career and ended with 630 home runs. He could have continued to collect millions, however he knew he wasn’t the player he once was and decided to hang it up. Nicknamed “The Kid” because he always had fun playing the game and played with reckless abandon, he will be missed.
The other story grabbing headlines is umpire Jim Joyce blowing a call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning that cost Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Perfect games are a rarity, so blowing this call is a big deal. The replay clearly showed Cleveland Indian Jason Donald was out at first base, however Joyce did not see it that way. Jim Joyce proved he was a class act by admitting after the game he blew the call, personally apologizing to Galarraga for missing the call, and choosing to umpire behind the plate the day after blowing the call when he was given permission to take the day off. It was also announced that Commissioner Bud Selig will not reverse the call giving Galarraga a perfect game. As a baseball purist I applaud this decision.
In today’s headlines of athletes using steroids, getting accused of rape, drunk driving, and many other things, it is nice to see a couple of class acts make the headlines.