Friday, June 04, 2010
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Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Thumbs up to umpire, pitcher

This week's Q&A-Mac is sponsored by Jim Joyce: Kicking the [bleep] out of history, one blown call at a time.

Q: Easy, now. The guy clearly felt horrible about missing the call at first base Wednesday night and costing Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. You didn't like Joyce's profanity-laced apology?

A: Actually, I loved it. Typically, the only ones who won't admit there's an element of human error in baseball are those who commit the human errors in baseball. Joyce's contrition was admirable, his language appropriate. There are a few umpires out there -- Joe West, I'm looking in your direction -- who should follow Joyce's lead when it comes to humility.

Q: What about Galarraga's response?

A: Even better. Not to get all "after-school special" on anybody, but I hope every kid in America watched Galarraga's reaction to this, both immediately after it happened and later in the clubhouse. His "Why Me?" grin that greeted the call was perfect -- acknowledging the situation without showing up anybody. I have no idea how he kept his cool like that. And for him to accept Joyce's apology so graciously in postgame interviews shows a lot of class. I like him now more than ever.

Q: Speaking of pitchers, The Citadel won't be starting ace Asher Wojciechowski against Virginia Tech in today's NCAA regional opener in South Carolina. Surprised?

A: Stunned. I understand that "Wojo" -- who might not go by that nickname, but that's what I'll call him because I don't feel like typing for six hours -- pitched on three-days' rest Sunday, but that still gave him four days to recover for this one. Unusual decision by Bulldogs coach Fred Jordan for a game this big. On the other hand, it's a move that helps protect Wojo from any catastrophic injuries heading into next week's MLB draft, where he projects to be no lower than a second-round pick.

Q: What's the matter, this Citadel coach not old-school enough?

A: I don't think that's a problem. According to multiple newspaper reports out of South Carolina, Jordan injured his shoulder last week during a ninth-inning brawl in the Southern Conference tournament. Hokies skipper Pete Hughes might want to bring his mouthpiece today.

Q: What's the best quote you got from the Region IV boys soccer semifinals that didn't make the paper because one game was so much more competitive than the other, leaving you scant space to write about the noncompetitive game?

A: Funny you should ask that. The quote was from one of my favorite postgame interview subjects ever, veteran Martinsville coach Pete Scouras, whose team fell to powerhouse Blacksburg 7-1 on Wednesday. As he was contemplating ways to try to close the gap between his program's and Blacksburg's, Scouras uttered the following gem in a thick Southern drawl: "Maybe import some guys from Spain or somethin'."

Q: Any chance star striker Raul leaves Real Madrid to join the Bulldogs?

A: Depends on the offer. I'd put the odds at about 50-50 at this point.

Q: That reminds me, didn't your daily blog used to have a gambling component entitled "I like those odds"?

A: Yes, but no longer. After my 467th lousy prediction in a row, colleague and pal Randy King told me I should be sponsored by Wells Fargo considering the amount of money I've cost the poor readers.

Q: Just curious: What happens when you Google the phrase "Randy King"?

A: No lie: The first link takes you directly to the Web Site for Harvard Medical School. Here you can meet Randall W. King, associate professor of cell biology.

Q: Any relation to our Randy?

A: Same guy. Bet on it.

Read Aaron McFarling's Daily Sports Briefing weekday mornings on the Press Box blog at roanoke.com/sports

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