It’s a fact. Even the best have bad days. After all no one is perfect. No matter how skilled a person is. No matter how committed they are to the task human beings are going to make mistakes.

It has been said that practice makes perfect but that is not true. Practice may make one better but it does not produce perfection.

Most mistakes, slip ups, errors- whatever you call them- are minor and most often no one notices. If you are a baseball fan (which I am), or even if you are not, you realize that was not the case last week for the Atlanta Braves.

It was the game to determine which team would advance in the post-season. One game. Win or go home.  The winner of this one-game playoff with St. Louis would decide who played on into October.

The Braves were the best defensive team in the National League during the regular season making only 86 fielding errors in 162 games. A little more than one in every two games. Then on October 5 the usually solid defensive players made three errors in one game.

Three separate players in three different innings threw the ball away. Each errant throw allowed runs to score that ultimately cost Atlanta the ballgame. Even the best have bad days.

There was another glaring error that shifted the fans attention away from the costly mistakes of their beloved Chipper Jones and the other infielders, Dan Uggla and Andrellton Simmons.

This was not a fielding error; it was an officiating blunder by a veteran umpire. In the sixteen years that Sam Holbrook has been working major league baseball games he has never been more the center of attention and the object of so much scorn. In the 8th inning he ruled that a popup in shallow left field hit by the Atlanta Braves shortstop was an out under the infield fly rule. The Braves were behind 6-3 and without this call they would have had the bases loaded with one out. Instead they had only two men on base with two outs.

We will never know if the umpire’s call caused the Braves to lose the game. What it did, however, was deflect criticism from the mistakes that the three infielders had made earlier in the game. Holbrook became the scapegoat on which rabid fans could cast all the blame for the loss.

The scene has been replayed on television many times since last Friday night. There have been countless words penned about the matter. We cannot forget it because we are constantly being reminded of the event.

Will Atlanta Braves fans ever forgive Sam Holbrook? It will be difficult because the frequent reminders embedded in the video archives of the media will keep it alive.

Human beings need to work at forgiving. Peter thought he was being generous when he asked Jesus if it was enough to forgive someone seven times when they had wronged him. Jesus replied, “Try seventy times seven.” I don’t think Jesus was suggesting that 490 is a magical number after which forgiveness is no longer required. After all if you have been counting, have you really been forgiving? Instead, he meant that forgiveness should be given in abundance.

It is easy to hold a grudge. To blame someone. But those negative thoughts harm you more than anyone else. You can forgive a person without excusing what they said or did.

Forgiveness is not easily offered- but it is essential for healthy living. Bernard Meltzer said, “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” That is true for Braves fans and for everyone.

The offense that Atlanta baseball fans experienced in that one ballgame pales in comparison to many human hurts. But I believe that Indira Gandhi was right. “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave,” So, baseball fan or not let us learn to forgive and continue to pray, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others who trespass against us.”.

Jamie Jenkins

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