FORGIVENESS

  Whether you are a sport’s fan or not, you can appreciate this recent situation.  May I share some of the write up about it by Trevor Thomas in the Gainesville, GA. “The Times” June 21, 2010.

  “If you pay attention to the sports world at all, you are well aware of the recent “tragedy” that occurred in Major League Baseball.  In case you missed it, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from pitching a perfect game (when a pitcher or pitchers retire all 27 batters faced in a game).  It would have been only the 21st perfect game in the 141 year history of Major League Baseball.
Galarraga was one out away from his perfect game when a ground ball to first resulted in a missed call by the first-base umpire.  The perfect game was forever ruined. Moreover, it was a bad missed call (by umpire, Jim Joyce).
  As stellar as Galarraga’s otherwise perfect game was, the performance afterward by the principle characters involved teaches a lesson that no perfect game would allow, one that I believe will leave each of them with a far greater legacy than the perfect game would have.
Immediately after the blown call, Galarraga smiled, returned to the pitcher’s mound, and went back to work.  His manager, Jim Leyland, came out to argue the call; it was quite heated.  After the game, Leyland was much more understanding.  “The players are human, the umpires are human, the managers are human,” Leyland said.    
  After the game, upon seeing the replay, Joyce took the unusual step of quickly admitting his mistake.  “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (bleep) out of it.  Joyce said, I just cost that kid a perfect game,”  he added as he sullenly and humbly paced the unpires’ locker room.  Moments later, Joyce went even further and tearfully asked the Tigers’ general manager, Dave Dombrowski, if he could personally apologize to Galarraga.  Joyce then went face-to-face with Galarraga and told him he was sorry and even added a hug.  The act quickly defused an otherwise bitter Galarraga.  Galarraga said, “You don’t see an umpire after the game come out and say,  ‘Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry’.  He felt really bad.  He didn’t even shower. 
  The next day, Joyce was scheduled to work behind home plate, the highest profile umpiring position. MBL gave Joyce the option of taking the day off.  Joyce refused. Prior to the game, wanting to diffuse any negative crowd reaction to Joyce, Leyland sent Galarraga out with the day’s lineup card.  As the lineups were exchanged, what boos were aimed at Joyce turned into cheers for Galarraga.  Joyce, again full of emotion, had tears in his eyes.  Galarraga patted him on the shoulder for support.  When the game began, surrounded by his fellow umpires for their support, as the Tigers took to the field, several of them passed by Joyce and showed their support for him as well.  For the most part, Tigers fans also showed themselves forgiving. When the game was over, Joyce said, “I don’t want to make it sappy and say it was love, but the support I got was just love.”
  Don’t get me wrong, given a chance to do it over, almost everyone involved would rather see Joyce make the correct call and have Galarraga “immortalized” into MLB history along with the 20 other perfect game pitchers.
  However, we now have an incident that transcends sports.  We have an example of grace and forgiveness.  We have a man owning up to his mistake and saying that he is sorry.  In other words, we have an outpouring of love that no “perfect game” could ever have given us.”
  Thank you, Mr. Thomas for that beautiful write up helping us to see genuine forgiveness. 

  How can any of us be so critical of a baseball mistake when all of us are “MISTAKE MAKERS.”   Everyone of us stand in need of forgiveness.  The greatest offer of forgiveness comes from God through Jesus, His son.  Hear the Word of the Lord: “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”  Ephesians 1:7
That forgiveness must be shared.  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”   Ephesians 4:32

2 Responses to “FORGIVENESS”

  1. Dear Max , this is one of my favorites. I said One, so many of your devotionals are just what needs to be said at the time you send it out . May God contiinue to bless you as you send these each week.. . You always know just what we the ” readers” need to hear .
    Love and Prayers Joann

  2. Max,

    I like your review of this incident. It helps to see Bible principles played out in real life. If we all followed God’s plan for living the world would be a kinder, more loving place. Thank you for your insights!

    Blessings,

    Joe Douthitt

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