I grew up on baseball in the 1960’s with the likes of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. A few years later Tom Seaver and the Miracle Mets held my fancy. Over the years I have been intrigued by many baseball spectaculars such as Mark McGwire and his run to break Roger Maris’s homerun record and Barry Bonds’s overcoming Mark McGwire’s record. Roger Clemens winning his 300th game and pitching his 3000th strikeout was unforgettable. I was enchanted with these baseball heroes when they achieved their record breaking accomplishments.
Then the story about how modern day athletes were using steroids became public and the glory of those heroes from the past 20 years disappeared. Many of us lost our youthful innocence with the discovery that steroids had intruded into the daily routines of professional baseball. But as my bubby (my Russian grandma) used to say; c’est la vie. At least that was the French translation.
This week someone’s little boy who was pitching in the big leagues for the first year had a perfect game, meaning no batter reached first base the entire game with only one out to go. This is a rarity in baseball having previously occurred only 20 times in major league history. The final out was weakly hit, a ground ball to the infield, the pitcher covering first base beat the batter, and the throw was caught before the batter reached the bag. Replays documented the batter was out but unfortunately, the umpire mistakenly shot his arms out signifying a safe sign thus preventing the last out which would have made this a rare perfect game.
So why should I blog about a botched call ruining a perfect game? This arbitrary wrong turn of events which prevented a perfect game crushed me emotionally the same day my patient who I wanted so much to have her baby, miscarried after 3 years of trying to conceive. She, like the rookie, Galarraga, deserved to have their day, the perfect game, the perfect baby. Randomly, both were denied. How is an individual who has such hopes, dreams and aspirations focused on the denied event to deal with this catastrophic disappointment?
As an observer of both, I was feeling distraught, angry, pushing me to cry out for justice for some supernatural power to make things right again.
Forty five minutes after the game after umpire, Jim Joyce, had the opportunity to review the play he went to the dugout to speak with pitcher, Armando Galarraga. He apologized to the pitcher for spoiling his slice of fame. … There were few words, just a deep apology, as tears welled in Joyce’s eyes. “He feels really bad, probably worse than me,” said Galaragga, who began the season in the minors in Toledo. “I give a lot of credit to that guy, to say he’s sorry. I gave him a hug. His body English said more than the words. Nobody’s perfect, everybody’s human.”
We, in the field of infertility face disappointments as regularly and the menstrual cycle. When a pregnancy is conceived, in our minds, the “perfect baby” is essentially created. Miscarriage, the loss of one’s “perfect baby” seems to be a life crushing blow. Perhaps, we can gain strength from the story about these two men, Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce, who were able to reconcile this catastrophic schism in their path to obtaining their “perfect” goal and move forward to the next game.
Thank you, Armando and Jim for helping us to see the way. After all, if you can get this close once only to miss because of a random mistake, then why can’t we expect that we have a good shot that it will work next time?
In the mean time, again as my Bubby would say, “Play ball”.