Anyone who knows me knows I’m a diehard Pittsburgh Pirates fan. But did I stay up for Tuesday night’s marathon game against the Braves? Almost. I went to bed after the top of the nineteenth inning. Good thing, too. Because if I’d had seen the umpire’s blown call at home plate during the bottom of that inning, I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep.
Replays show Pirates catcher Michael McKenry tagging runner Julio Lugo at least a foot before Lugo reached the plate. Even Lugo thought he was out—until umpire Jerry Meals called him safe, ending the record-setting long game. Only then did Lugo tag the plate.
Even Meals, after he’d seen the replay said he “might have” blown the call: “It appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I’m guessing he might have got him.”
Come on, ump. Own up to it. What’s wrong with saying, “I made a mistake. I was wrong”? None of this “I’m guessing” or “might have.”
One ESPN writer called it “the new worst call ever.”
Last year a blown call at first base ruined a pitcher’s perfect game. That umpire, after seeing the replays, admitted his error and actually cried about it.
“There’s no doubt he feels bad and terrible,” said the pitcher. “I have a lot of respect for the man. It takes a lot to say you’re sorry and to say in interviews he made a mistake.”
“Sometimes that’s the way it goes,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle after Wednesday morning’s fiasco at home plate. “It’s just disappointing . . . We’ll move on. The season is not going to stop.”
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage was even terser: “Deal with it.”
How we deal with the bad calls we get—and give—in life reveals our character and determines whether the ordeal will weaken or strengthen us.
Take St. Paul, for instance. He was imprisoned on trumped up charges more than once, whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, and left for dead, yet he continually pressed on, refusing to look back, refusing to let the unfairness of it all embitter him. He refused to play the blame game and allow a grudge to destroy both relationships with others and his own spirit.
So we, too, must deal with the bad calls of life: We allow them to make us either bitter or better. Remember: mercy sweetens; bitterness poisons.
What about when you’re the one who’s made the bad call? You can own up to it, justify it, deny it, ignore it, or circumvent it (aka, “beat around the bush”). It seems to me all but one of those choices keeps things stirred up. Admitting your mistake—and saying you’re sorry—will not only diffuse a volatile situation, but will also win you the respect and perhaps even the friendship of those you’ve wronged. Remember: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
No one’s perfect. We’ve all made bad calls. We’ve all been on the receiving end of bad calls. C’est la vie—such is life.
Deal with it—and move on.
Help me, Lord, to ask forgiveness when I’ve wronged someone, to forgive those who have wronged me, and to move on. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 37