Galarraga Arrives a Hero in Arizona

Armando Galarraga, according to this headline, appears to be a popular Diamondbacks player already, which is relative, of course.

In this city, fans are more likely to know the Suns’ 12th man than the Dbacks’ fifth starter. But columnist Dan Bickley says Galarraga’s reaction to the blown call and the aftermath could make him “the most popular losing pitcher in baseball history.”

Here’s a sampling of Bickley’s column in yesterday’s Arizona Republic:

Though he’s only 23-26 as a starter, Galarraga enjoys a lofty reputation among baseball fans. He is viewed as a professional athlete with a heart, a player who can step out of his world and walk in someone else’s shoes. He credits his parents for teaching him to step back and cool off “when something is going wrong, when something makes you want to scream.”

(snip)

Question is, will we love Galarraga in the coming months? That’s hard to say. He will compete for a spot in the starting rotation, and many baseball observers aren’t convinced he’ll ever morph into an impact starter. Still, if his command is as good as his self-control, he has a fighting chance. And he’s very happy for a fresh start, for the chance to throw a perfect game in the National League.

“I’m very excited. I can’t wait to hit. I really like Arizona. That’s a great stadium for pitching,” Galarraga said.

Of course, he’s dead wrong about Chase Field, which is notoriously friendly to hitters. That’s OK. We’ll forgive him. It’s the least we can do.

I’m still not convinced that Dbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson won’t be infuriated by Galarraga’s lack of aggressiveness. I guess we’ll see.

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