Over the past few days, I’ve tried to write a meaningful post about Armando Galarraga’s perfect-with-an-asterisk-mark game, with my own angle on the situation. And I just keep failing to come up with something satisfactory. It makes sense, I suppose, seeing as this is first and foremost a hockey blog, and first and foremost, hockey is my passion. But I did include “Detroit” in the title of this blog for a reason. While Wings fans lovingly call it Hockeytown, I realized a few years ago that, sure, we love hockey because the ground is frozen a good five months every year, but I’ve never seen the city so animated and so joyous as in the fall of 2006, when the Tigers made it to the World Series. And no one can argue with the fact that Opening Day in Detroit is an unofficial holiday (whereas, in my opinion, “Hockeytown” really doesn’t come alive until the playoffs).
Before this gets too waaaay over the top on the corny factor, I’ll switch gears. My problem with writing about the Galarraga/Joyce situation is that 1) this topic has already been covered extensively (and brilliantly), not to mention it has it’s own Wikipedia page and 2) I just don’t know enough about baseball to even begin to delve into the instant replay debate.
And, honestly, I missed the first 7 innings of the game (because I was in blogging class, HAH!…also because the game only lasted an hour and 44 minutes!). Watching the end of the game was simultaneously heartbreaking and awesome, as I think anyone watching it can attest to. And I may have rashly joined one of the 95835 anti-Jim Joyce Facebook groups that popped up within 5 seconds after he called Donald safe at 1st, but have since “unliked” that group.
After everything, this really turned into one of, if not THE, coolest sports stories of the year. There are so many (happy) images that Tigers fans, and a lot of non-Tigers fans, will never forget: Galarraga’s glowing, unshakable smile, Alex Avila hugging the heck out of Galarraga after the 28th out, Jim Joyce wiping away tears and Galarraga handing him the lineup card the next afternoon, Leyland’s choked up “I’m so proud of Detroit fans” postgame interview.
Rod Allen said that Galarraga credited his amazingly cool-headed reaction to his dad’s calm disposition. And, I mean, there’s also the fact that he had just pitched 26 consecutive outs. The residual anger from the game’s outcome might never fully die down, but it’s time to “unlike” all those mean-spirited Facebook groups.