F. Stop Fitzgerald!
That homemade joke has made me chuckle and guffaw for years now, and it only comes to mind now because F. Scott Fitzgerald was also famous for saying "There are no second acts in American lives."
But there are!
Jim Joyce is a Major League umpire. Prior to 2010, he was chiefly famous for his elaborate facial hair. He was known as a pretty good ump.
And then Armando Gallarga, then of the Tigers, was pitching what is certain to be the best game of his up-and-down career one night. Joyce was the first-base umpire. 26 batters up and 26 batters down went the Cleveland Indians that June night in MoTown, and Gallaraga was one out away from that rarest of baseball events: a perfect game. (This season there have been two, bringing the total in all the history of big league baseball to 23.)
Of course, if you know nothing of baseball, it might occur to you that the other three umpires might have called Joyce aside and told him that Gallaraga almost had time to light up a cigar in the time between when he caught that ball at first and Donald's arrival on the base. But they don't do things that way in baseball.
Anyway, everyone was all upset. Gallaraga handled the situation with remarkable equanimity and forgave the weeping Joyce time after time. Joyce apologized time after time and made his way into Bartlett's Familiar Quotations by intoning, "Nobody's perfect." But his contrition was apparent and genuine.
Two years later now. Gallaraga, a Venezuelan by birth, has been released by the Tigers, the Orioles, and, most embarrassingly, by the inept Houston Astros the day before yesterday, and is now looking for work.
She is alive now and Jim Joyce deserves credit. I'm glad that now, he sees himself on the news or in the paper and it's for a good thing.