I know there are more important things than baseball - the oil spill, any number of foreign crises, the economy - but I simply cannot get Detroit Tiger Armando Galarraga's perfect game - that wasn't - out of my mind.
As a baseball fan for many decades, I have never been more disappointed by the outcome of a sporting event. I know there are Buffalonians who will argue that point, but the admittedly blown call by umpire Jim Joyce with two outs in the ninth of a perfect game is one for the ages.
For Galarraga, it deprives him of sports immortality (although he may end up achieving it anyway), not to mention potentially millions of dollars in compensation over the succeeding years. And yet while his teammates, manager, and 17,000 fans screamed, shouted, and protested over a call that umpires get right 999 times out of 1,000, Galarraga just smiled.
After the game, he was philosophical, empathetic to umpire Joyce (who apologized), and took it all in stride. Instead of the story being three perfect games in less than a month, it will instead be about whether baseball will get instant replay.
But for me, it was about Galarraga's grace and cool when Joyce made the improbable safe call at first. How would Curt Schilling, Jack Morris, Roger Clemens, or even Nolan Ryan have reacted in the same circumstance? How would any of us have handled this disappointment?
On cable news and on ESPN, we see a constant parade of celebrities, politicians, and athletes who have been dissed, wronged, and disrespected. And almost always, these moments are accompanied by shouting, posturing, denial, and blaming. It is so rare when anyone accepts responsibility, much less takes a major disappointment in stride.
Over the last couple of years, many of us have had to face some uncomfortable events and circumstances, often out of our control - the loss of business, job termination, the erosion of 401ks and retirement plans, and other tragedies that were unforeseen. I think about my own reactions to bad news, and the quotes I read in the industry trades from CEOs along with the angry tirades and nasty rumors that are on chat boards every day.
It is easy to handle it all with charm during good books, great revenue quarters, and fun times. It is a whole other situation when the world is crashing down. That's when you learn what people are about.
And then I think about Galarraga who pitched a perfect game that will never be recorded that way in the record books. And I also think about Joyce who had the balls and class to admit a wrong and to apologize for it. The next day, Galarraga brought the lineup card to home plate where he and the umpiring crew had the chance to spend a moment. While Joyce was overcome with emotion, Galarraga gave him a pat on the back. That moment may have overshadowned the blown play at first base the night before.
And I'm thinking that's the story and the lesson that's there for all of us.