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Bill Kalmar

Quality Insider

Yes, We Are Good Losers!

Not to mention a class act

Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 06:00

Permit me to take a break from all things quality- and customer service-oriented and talk about what’s really important.


That’s right; I feel the need to respond to the “perfect game” controversy from a Detroiter’s point of view. We in the Motor City regularly get criticized and chastised for our winless football team, our crime stats, our unemployment, our jailed mayor, our failing schools, and our two bailed-out automotive companies. Now, as a result of the way Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga and manager Jim Leyland handled the botched perfect-game call on June 3, we are suddenly a “class act,” according to the media. Actually, what with the problems in our city we have learned to become good losers, so it was not difficult for us to accept the bad call.

On the other hand, it demonstrates something we Detroiters have known for a long time: We are, in fact, a class act. We applauded umpire Jim Joyce when he appeared the next day at the ballpark and again when he arrived at the airport upon departing for his next assignment. It is indicative of the way we treat people here. We have become accustomed to everyone leaving our town, and we applaud them for their wisdom (just kidding).

Having said that, let me offer my take on the perfect game. When discussion comes up about the number of perfect games in baseball in 2010, no one will remember the names of the two pitchers who can claim that accomplishment. For the record, their names are Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Dallas Braden of Oakland. But everyone will remember Armando Galarraga, because when the topic comes up about the record, reporters always say there should be another name on the list and mention his. So Galarraga has attained something no one else on the list has achieved: name recognition. In addition, he received a shiny red 2010 Corvette convertible, courtesy of General Motors and the Tigers. He probably would have received the car anyway had the ump not botched the call, but it was a crowning moment when the car was pulled onto the field the next day.

So we in Detroit know how to accept defeat and criticism. We may lose a game here and there, we may be at the top of the crime stat sheet, many continue to be unemployed, but our spirit never wavers, and as the media has reported—we are a class act! Those of you in other American League and National League cities will realize that when you come to Detroit this fall for the World Series to watch our Tigers dismantle the Cardinals. And just for your enjoyment, Galarraga will be pitching another perfect game.


About The Author

Bill Kalmar’s picture

Bill Kalmar

William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director from 1993 through 2003. He served on the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and has been a Baldrige examiner. He was also named quality professional of the year by the ASQ Detroit chapter. Now semiretired, Kalmar does freelance writing for several publications. He is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer.


Detroit baseball

Excellent as usual! I totally agree with you. He will receive much more recognition from the snafu than had it gone as people expected. We can all learn a lesson on how to graciously deal with events like this.