The baseball world is boiling over after umpire Jim Joyce blew the call on what should have been the last out of Tigers’ hurler Armando Galarraga’s perfect game against the Indians. Even a yak rancher from Mongolia could see that Joyce gagged on the controversial play at first.
Aside from the obvious impact this has on the record books and Galarraga’s place in history, here are a few other things that make this one play so monumental:
1) Let’s be fair and say that unofficially Galarraga’s pitched the third perfect game of the season, the second in less than a week, and fourth since last July. From a journeyman with a career 21-18 record. Ridiculous. This is not just some statistical aberration. A few days ago, after Roy Halliday’s perfecto against the Marlins, I opined that better fielding and tighter strike zone’s may have to do with it. Dare we say that a diminished use of performance enhancing drugs may have an impact? Yes, let’s throw that into the mix. But still? It takes a lot to throw a perfect game, shaky umpiring aside. Something really weird is going on here and I aim to get to the bottom of it.
2) After reviewing the replay, Joyce could not have been more contrite. He readily admitted his missed the call. He even cried, for heaven’s sakes! When do you ever hear a mea culpa from an umpire — a crying umpire? I am stunned! In my book, this guy has already made up for his historic gaffe. We all make mistakes. We do not all own up to them.
3) This will expand the use of instant replay. It makes no sense to confine it to home runs. Blown calls on the basepaths are more common and usually more impactful to the outcome of a game. I don’t expect it to extend to balls and strikes (nor should it, nor would the umpire’s union ever relent to such), but how can it not be used in situations like this?
4) If I’m so tired of perfect games, why do I keep writing about them? Well, they do make for good copy. I must admit.