I must have looked through a thousand photos of Armando, trying to find the right one for his installation into the PFandL Handsome Cowboy Hall of Fame. There’ s approximately 1,520,000 of them to go through, most of them showing what a pitchers body does in the middle of the execution of a 90 mph fast ball.
But what I wanted was something else entirely. I wanted that very fine moment when the camera caught Armando’s reaction to the fact that the Ump, Joyce, had just blown his perfectly pitched game.
He smiled. Nothing big and toothy, fringed subtly with sarcasm or mockery. Clearly, he was surprised but not extremely incredulously so, the kind of incredulity that some might have wanted to demonstrate when a mistake of that baseball-magnitude occurred from a fellow baseball professional. He certainly knew in that precise instant that Joyce had made a mistake. There wasn’t a hint of anger or enmity and none followed.
Thinking about it as I put him into the PFandL Handsome Cowyboy Hall of Fame, Armondo’s smile, seemed, well almost as if it has a secret behind it. Something, that the millions of people who have now seen that footage, recognized but certainly found exceptional, and maybe don’t even get.
Almost like he has the game of baseball and his place in it, in the best possible perspective a pitcher-for-a-living could have.
I bet if you could find that picture, and someone painted it and then someone looked at it 100 years from now, they would wonder, “what makes that guy smile like that?”
Sort of like the Mona Lisa.
Yeah, Armando, your smile. It’s like that. Potentially famous and one that could make generations shake their heads at.
Mr. Galarraga, we offer our gratitude, for showing a generation of future young cowboys and cowgirls what you have to have inside to make a smile like that come out on the outside.