Jim Joyce and Accountability

By Ron Pereira Published on June 4th, 2010

As those that follow Major League Baseball know, umpire Jim Joyce cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game earlier this week.

For those that don’t know the story, Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga needed one more out in order to cement a perfect game.

And on what looked to be a routine play… it seemed he had it as he stepped on first base ball in hand a full step before the runner did.

Unfortunately, umpire Jim Joyce didn’t see it the same way as he called the runner safe.

To be blunt, it may go down as the single most “blown” call of all time. After watching a replay Joyce commented, “Oh my God, it was out. Not even a close play.”

And while the baseball fanatics are screaming for more instant replay I, myself, have been overwhelmed with another aspect of the story.

You see, for me, the “story” is all about the way Jim Joyce handled his mistake.

He didn’t make excuses. He didn’t blame anyone else. No, he admitted his mistake with sincere contrition.

The image above is of him stepping onto the field the night after his mistake. He was crying and he hugged Galarraga and apologized.

It’s life lessons like these I want my children to learn. You see, everyone makes mistakes. Everyone.

But not everyone takes complete ownership for their mistake the way Jim Joyce did.

I do feel bad for Armando Galarraga. To be sure, he was robbed of a magical moment. A moment he may never get close to again.

But, perhaps the life lesson Jim Joyce taught millions of people around this country – and perhaps the world – will make more of an impact when it’s all said and done.

Well done, Jim Joyce. Well done.

  1. Jeff Trent

    June 4, 2010 - 10:07 am

    I also think the way the Tiger’s organization handled it is excellent. They were upset but in the end they also acknowledged the fact that everyone makes mistakes. I definitley think the umps actions helped the Tiger’s handle a difficult situation gracefully.

  2. Jason Stokes

    June 4, 2010 - 1:49 pm

    Second worst call of all time. See Don Denkinger, 1985 world series.

    But I agree with your point, Ron. Joyce and, I think, especially Galarraga were incredibly gracious. I don’t think I could do that were I in Galarraga’s place.

  3. Shana Padgett

    June 5, 2010 - 8:00 am

    I agree, I agree and I agree! Everyone has made and will make mistakes – the real measure of any of us is how we respond once we know a mistake has been made. If you made the mistake – excuses or ownership? If you were on the receiving end – accusations and victim behavior or forgiveness and moving forward?

    The loss of a perfect game is unfortunate and I am sorry for Galarraga and Joyce. Nobody gets up and heads to work hoping to make the mistake or be on the end of another’s mistake.

    Both Galarraga and Joyce will be remembered longer, and by more people, for how they behave in response to this mistake.

  4. Mark Welch

    June 7, 2010 - 10:32 am

    Truly exceptional posts that teach and inspire, I send to my kids.

    I sent this one to my kids.

    Well done, Ron.

  5. Jacques Plante

    June 8, 2010 - 7:44 am

    Great observations. Mr. Joyce owned up to his error and Mr. Galarraga showed incredible poise and grace in the given circumstances. Let’s not forget, though, that “owning” up to a mistake when it’s been nationally televised (and when there is no punishment forthcoming) may be easier to do than owning up to a mistake that only you have realized, and no one else yet knows about. Owning up to that kind of mistake represents true courage, especially when it would be easier to ignore it because no one else has caught it.

  6. Jeff Hajek

    June 8, 2010 - 9:24 am


    I think everyone is looking at this the wrong way. Jim Joyce helped Galarraga become the only pitcher ever to retire 28 straight batters in a single game…

    Agreed, though. He handled the situation amazingly, as did Galarraga. The question, though, is what will MLB baseball do as a countermeasure to keep this from ever happening again?

    Jeff Hajek

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