Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Navy needs a Jim Joyce

As human beings, we are imperfect by design and action. Our best and brightest are put in positions of great responsibility because it is hoped the they will make the fewest unforced errors.

There are difficult and important decisions that a leader must make - more often than not with imperfect information and with little time to make the call.

Mistakes happen. What truly breaks out the great and praise worthy though are those who can admit their mistakes and do it publicly so others can learn by their example.

Via John at PowerLine, I give you a leader.
Human error is something that we all live with, every day. But this umpire, Jim Joyce, watched the replay, and realized that he had blown the call:

"I just cost that kid a perfect game," Joyce said. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay."

"It was the biggest call of my career," said Joyce, who became a full-time major league umpire in 1989. ...

Joyce faced a group of hostile Tigers -- led by [Tigers manager Jim] Leyland -- between the pitching mound and home plate after the final out and was booed lustily by the crowd of 17,738 as he walked off the field.

"I don't blame them a bit for anything that was said," Joyce said. "I would've said it myself if I had been Galarraga. I would've been the first person in my face, and he never said a word to me."

DDG-1000. LCS. TFU. USNA Color Guard & Slotbacks, etc. Where are the leaders? You would think that these things happened on their own - that no one in uniform had a hand in their creation.

Admiral Roughead's Salamanderesque statement recently that in the future we are going to look to "evolutionary vs. revolutionary" is close. Some of Admiral Harvey's steps as CFFC to "do better" is even closer - but not are like this.

If you wish candor from your subordinates - then you must demonstrate the same. If you wish Sailors to take responsibility for their mistakes - then so must you.

If all you do is hide problems and promote happy-talk. Well, you get this.

Are we too prideful - or too scared?

Mr. Joyce - well done. A great man is a humble man.


bullnav said...

Great example.  This is all over the news up here in SE Michigan--folks are pissed off.  But I suspect they miss the point you make, the point of manning up and admitting failure.

Skippy-san said...

Except now all the jerks will come out of the wood work demanding instant replay in baseball-which is a big mistake. Teams are already slowing down the game too much as it is.

DrewM. said...

As great as Joyce was in handling the situation Armando Galarraga, the pitcher robbed of the perfect game, was even better...

Galarraga said he gave Joyce a hug when Joyce apologized to him after the game.

"He really feels bad," Galarraga said. "He probably feels more bad than me. Nobody is perfect. I give a lot of credit to that guy. That (an apology) doesn't happen. He apologized. He feels really bad. Nobody is perfect. What am I gonna do? His body language said more than a lot of words. His eyes were watery, he didn't have too say much. His body language said a lot."

Two guy forever linked by baseball and exempliary behavior.

And more replays in baseball. Life is unfair and bad things happen. It's how you deal with them that is important. Joyce and Galarraga are great examples of how adults should behave. 

virgil xenophon said...

Can anyone POSSIBLY imagine ANYONE in our current leadership cadre--in ANY of the service branches--having the candor of a Vinegar Joe Stillwell who, upon walking out of Burma one step ahead of the Japanese, when asked why the Allies abandoned Burma replied: "Because we got the shit kicked out of us!"

C-dore 14 said...

Worse than that, Skippy-san.  According to the NYT, Bud Selig is considering over-ruling Joyce's call and awarding Galarraga a perfect game.

C-dore 14 said...

Good post.  It takes a strong sense of character to step up and admit when you're wrong.

ShawnP said...

Well for the first time I will disagree with the good CDR. It's easy to man up after the game sitting in the AC and enjoying a adult beverage. A real man steps up immediately on the field and reverses the call with the help of his fellow umpires and God forbid REPLAY. The pitcher lost his perfect game forever and will never get it back. Oh Bud Selig will probably issue a proclamination and give it to him. But it will be tainted forever and Joyce should be also.

Bull Snipe said...

The Navy may need more Jim Joyce's, but the world needs more Armando <span>Galarraga's.  As I told my wife, I couldn't be that classyl if I had a day to prepare.

bullnav said...

He did not overrule the call.  Good.

And the Tigers and Indians are at it again this afternoon at Comerica Park...Tigers 7-6 in the bottom of the 7th...

Anonymous said...

@ShawnP:  Joyce thought he was right, see how he reacted to Leyland and the rest of the Tigers who got in his grill, until he saw the replay.  Once he saw the replay he knew he was wrong.  As soon as he knew he was wrong he apologized.

Mistakes happen, it's how you deal with them that matters.  As a long suffering Detroit fan I couldn't be prouder of the Tigers, or Joyce.  We saw two of the hardest things you will ever see in sports in the last two days:
1.  Losing a perfect game on a call you know is wrong, smiling, and getting the next out.
2.  Thinking you were right, realizing you were wrong and what that meant; then manning up to admit you were wrong and further getting back in the game with the aggrieved parties the next day.

Class all the way around.

WTH said...


Casey Tompkins said...

Agreed, 200% This call, especially, had no bearing on the important stats like win/loss or league standing. It's terrible the kid lost a perfect game, but Joyce gave us a classic learning moment in return. He blew it, he owned it, and he owned up to it. The man has a lot of heart.

Casey Tompkins said...

Oh, please! It wasn't until later that Joyce saw the replay, not to mention there's no mechanism in MLB -today- to reverse calls that way. I'm sure you've heard of this silly, old-fashioned concept called "following the rules? "{/snerk}

Yeah, he lost a perfect game. But he still pitched a complete game shutout with a single hit, and got a win. How many pitchers can say that on any given day?

I will observe that the Detroit crowd cheered Joyce before the next game on Thursday night.