Wednesday, June 02, 2010


DETROIT -- Armando Galarraga squeezed the ball in his mitt, stepped on first base with his right foot and was ready to celebrate the first perfect game in Detroit Tigers' history.

What happened next will be the talk of baseball for the rest of this season and likely a lot longer.

Umpire Jim Joyce emphatically called Cleveland's Jason Donald safe and a chorus of groans and boos echoed in Comerica Park.

Then Joyce emphatically said he was wrong.

"It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (bleep) out of it," Joyce said, looking and sounding distraught as he paced in the umpires' locker room. "I just cost that kid a perfect game."

"I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay," he said after the Tigers' 3-0 win.

It's rare for an umpire to acknowledge a mistake and, in a sport that still relies on the human eye more than any other sport, it's certain to prompt a push for Major League Baseball to use increased replays.

As it stands, baseball replays can only be used for questionable home runs. There's no appealing a judgment call, either by replay or protest. A blown call by first base umpire Don Denkinger helped tilt the 1985 World Series, and followed him throughout his career.
Read the rest here.

This would (should) have been the 3rd perfect game this season. Clearly this was a monumentally bad call that will haunt both the pitcher and the umpire for the rest of their careers.


Gabriel said...

This was probably the most depressing thing I have ever seen in Major League Baseball, but I have to say that the way Joyce and Gallaraga have handled it is remarkable. So few people in any walk of life admit to even minor mistakes; Joyce admitted to one of the biggest ones in sports history. Gallaraga, on the other hand, would be cheered on if he went on an angry tirade against Joyce, ripping him and the entire umpiring profession. But he didn't. Instead he accepted Joyce's apology; hugged him in the locker room; and, just a few moments, ago, handed him the lineup card and shook his hand in front of thousands of Tigers fans at Comerica. That's classy to say the least.

In the end, I really want MLB to overturn the call, but I doubt they will. I don't see much point having Gallaraga and Joyce's name go down in the history books under "Greatest F*%@!ups Ever." On the other hand, 30 years from now, more people will remember and talk about Gallaraga's virtual perfect game than they will Dallas Braden's (no disrepect intended). The fact Gallaraga cleared all 9 innings in 88 pitches (67 for strikes) is probably more remarkable than the perfect game itself, even if the call had been right.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I agree completely. Both of them have conducted themselves in a way that brings great credit to the game and sports in general. A class act all the way.

Part of me really really wants the commissioner to reverse what is obviously a terrible call and prevent an injustice. But I worry about the precedent. Life isn't fair. And if we do this I fear people are going to start demanding reviews of other botched calls. It's a slippery slope.

I am afraid the kid will just have to live with the knowledge that he did in fact pitch not only the 21st perfect game but the only one to get 28 outs in 9 innings! The official stats won't say that. But every history book or article that deals honestly with the subject will.