Wednesday night’s botched call which kept Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Gallarraga from being the third pitcher in 30 days to throw a perfect game may be one of thebiggest viral stories related to sports since the real migration to digital media egan several years ago. One cannot look at a blog, a trending list, a news site, a video board, a message board or any social or news media platform without seeing the Jim Joyce blown call replayed over and over again, with endless comments and opinion.
The only good to come out of the newscycle for Joyce and MLB is that baseball’s constant flow gives the sport the chance to move on a bit quicker than a controversy in any other sport…the Tigers and Indians were back playing less than 12 hours later.
However what should not be forgotten in the whole controversy was the way the Tigers handled the situation, from immediately after the game through the announcements that followed Thursday. Yes it was fortuitous that things happened so fast that there was not a huge time to dwell on the situation and that Gallaraga’s personality did not lead to a meltdown either on the field or with the media afterward.
It also helped that manager Jim Leyland did not further stoke the fire with a diatribe and that a bigger picture, one of class, was seen by all. The Tigers response to offer up an olive branch to Joyce, who by the way also handled himself extremely well and professionally, in their pregame media was very smart. No one hid from the facts but there was little of the incindiary talk that could have continued to stoke the blogosphere, the fans and the media. Even Chevrolet made a quick splash for the good will headline, offering Gallarraga a free Corvette for his ill-fated brush with greatness, and making the announcement just before Thursday’s first pitch.
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The situation in today’s 24/7 cycle could have really spun out of control and become a distraction beyond what it was for players and for the sport. While commissioner Bud Selig could still rule to change the call what will not change is the professionalism of an organization…the Tigers…who continually find ways to spin and handle challenges in a tough marketplace very very well. Wednesday night and Thursday were no exception.