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Imperfect Game? Hardly! Albany Sister of St. Joseph Interviewed on Perfect Game

by Jennifer Gish, Staff Reporter, The Times Union, June 16, 2010 

Imperfect game? Hardly!
Sister Mary Rose Fox, CSJ, had been watching her Yankees when she heard the Detroit Tigers' Armando Galarraga was closing in on a perfect game.
A lifelong baseball fan who knows perfect games don't come along often (except maybe this season), she flipped the channel to see it for herself.
Two weeks later, Sister Mary Rose, a member of the Albany Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is still talking about what happened that day in Detroit.
And the conversation with some of her fellow nuns at a picnic this week wasn’t about whether Bud Selig will relent on expanding instant replay. (She’s against it, other than its current use.) They were talking about the display of honesty and forgiveness at a time when the world could use a big dose of both. I can't stop thinking about it either, especially after the ESPN poll this week in which major-league players voted umpire Jim Joyce the best in the game, after he made a call that changed history.
When we talk about attitude in sports, it’s usually of the Terrell Owens variety, not humility. Athletes as role models? Here's a case where I hope your Little Leaguer was paying attention.
You, no doubt, know what happened in Comerica Park. Galarraga had the perfect game in his grasp when Joyce swooped in and called a Cleveland Indians’ runner safe at first. The runner was anything but safe, and Joyce knew it, too, the moment he returned to the umpire's dressing room through a chorus of boos and asked to see the replay
Joyce immediately apologized, to Galarraga and to a mob of reporters, owning up to his mistake with remorse bathed in emotion. It’s a rare case at a time when financial responsibility for an environmental disaster is subject to negotiation and commentators spend weeks analyzing whether Ben Roethlisberger is really sorry or just posturing to save face. No one questioned Joyce's sincerity.
Even more touching, since he could have been only the 21st person in baseball history to pitch a perfect game, was Galarraga who embraced the apologetic umpire in their postgame talk. A great lesson for any parent who's been ejected from youth sports for getting out of hand.
“Poor Jim Joyce. He was crying. The pitcher was crying. It was a real scene of forgiveness that you don't see a whole lot, especially not in sports,” says Sister Mary Rose who can't recall being truly frustrated with an umpire since the later-overturned George Brett/pine tar debacle.
“I think people don't do that enough. You need to own up. If you did it, you did it, and you have to (admit it). And then forgiveness ... It’s definitely a basic to have forgiveness for one another. I was very pleased at that scene at the ballpark.”
Most of us think too little of others to count on forgiveness. Not since we were kids did we really believe that being honest about our mistakes is enough for a pardon. In the adult world, celebrities and politicians hire spin doctors skilled at scripting apologies meant to repair images, not souls. It took an “imperfect game” to remind us we can be better than that.
“That’s probably going to be as classic as if he had pitched a perfect game itself,” Sister Mary Rose says. “I don't think people will forget that in a hurry.”
In the meantime, the sister and I are hoping the incident doesn't spur expanded use of replay. It would take the human element out of the game.
Jennifer Gish may be reached at 518-454-5089 or