People make honest mistakes. In last night's baseball game between Cleveland and Detroit, Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga threw the ball to Cleveland's Jason Donald with two outs in the top of the 9th inning. Up to that point, Galarraga had pitched a perfect game. Donald hit the ball to the first baseman and Galarrago stepped toward first base for the out, guaranteeing a place in the record books; Galarrago had pitched a perfect game.
Or so it appeared for a fleeting few hundredths of a second.
Umpire Jim Joyce made a bad call and declared Donald safe at first. Video replay confirms that Donald was clearly out but in baseball there is no instant replay.
That's all there is to it, no excuses can be made. Joyce admits the mistake. Nothing much can be done now.
Listening to the pundits and analysts review this bad call has made me wonder if our culture is able to accept honest mistakes anymore. Everybody was looking for some sort of just resolution. When somebody messes up we immediately are looking to find the guilty party in order to punish the offender. I don't believe that Obama is anymore to blame for the oil spill (or the failed cleanup) than Bush is to blame for Katrina (or the slow response). That's just one example of many in which we hunt for the guilty party, assess the political or moral fall out and declare the winners and losers.
The truth is, mistakes will happen. I blame us.
And, thank heavens, it gives us the opportunity to extend grace. I much admire both Joyce's and Galarraga's response. You can watch the interview by clicking here.
Thanks to both of these men for showing us what grace looks like.