Most Baseball fans are convinced that Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers threw a perfect game on June 2, 2010. The same fans are convinced that umpire Jim Joyce blew the ‘safe’ call he made at first base, and Joyce himself has admitted the same. Therefore, say these fans, the thing to do is to just call it a perfect game. It’s only ‘fair’, they say, and we ‘owe’ it to Mr. Galarraga to ‘give’ him his ‘perfect’ game. The only problem, though, is that to do that we would have to lie. As unfortunate as the circumstances may be, what happened on June 2, 2010, was not a perfect game, and we should be honest enough to accept that fact, and move on.
Was the call wrong? From what I have seen, yes it was. But calls are not reversed in Baseball, and that’s part of the game. Always has been, and there’s some great stories which came out of blown calls, unsettled arguments and differences of opinion. Generations of Baseball fans argue about who got robbed in World Series plays at the plate, whether a certain catch really was a catch, and myriad cases where the game could have, should have gone another way but did not. While Joyce blew the call on Wednesday, that was no different than a bungled catch or throw by a fielder, a catcher calling for the heater when he should called for a slider, or any of the countless errors and mistakes which have cost other pitchers perfect games. There’s a reason perfect games are so rare, and there’s no way to repair it if the perfection is lost. The game was not perfect, and it would cheapen the meaning of perfect games to start “correcting” results to say what we would like rather than what really happened.
There’s also the question of why the call should be changed. The outcome of the game was not changed by the blown call, nor was the score altered. The only reason given for changing the call was for the benefit of a statistic, and the rules do not allow for a change in decision to be made on such grounds, and never have allowed for it. The only reason such noise has come up, is because the media made such a big deal of it. Most Major League Baseball players say they do not want the call reversed and do not want instant replay – the push comes from a lot of people who are not athletes and only know about the incident from a 5-second video clip they caught on television. They want Utopia, not Baseball.
Which brings us to President Obama. President Obama has a high opinion of himself, sometimes for good reason but more often his opinion of himself goes far beyond any reasonable limits. The President who boasted his administration would be revered for ‘waters receding’ has bungled every aspect of the Deepwater Horizon disaster; the President who assured Americans that everyone making less than a quarter-million a year would see their taxes lowered has instead imposed a record burden of debt on the taxpayers and their children; and the President who bragged that his administration would be ‘post-partisan’ continues to insult and attack his predecessor, the minority party, and the millions of Americans who protested government waste and neglect of traditional American values, on essentially a daily basis. Obama has proven his skin the thinnest in a President since Nixon, and his performance in the job has been arguably even worse – Nixon, at least, never bowed to America’s enemies.
Barack Obama was astounded to discover, after taking office seventeen months ago, that his job has a lot more work to it than to just issue a decree or make a promise. And the man who imagines he can call anyone else on the carpet has been dismayed to learn that he himself is accountable to the people. And he’s not perfect. That’s Obama’s big fear, you know, that people will learn he’s not perfect. And so, defiantly, even desperately, President Obama skitters everywhere he sees a flaw emerging, working on polish to hide the blemish and protect his image. The substance is never considered, because he cannot bear to be seen as imperfect. President Obama is to governance like those casual fans of Baseball, who never bothered to learn the rules or the history, whose experience is so thin and superficial that they do not begin to understand why things aren’t changed just because they want it a certain way. He cannot admit his flaws, and so President Obama never realizes how unreal his appearance becomes to real people, just as those people who imagine that requiring Instant Replay will make Baseball perfect have no idea how very wrong they are, and how doing so would simply make Baseball less authentic, more expensive, and more cumbersome – like Obama’s policies have made America less attuned to real people, and are more expensive and more burdensome.
Keep Baseball the way it is. But President Obama needs repair.