Detroit Starting Pitcher Armando Galarraga covered first base, took the throw from second in time to make the 27th straight out in the 9th inning to complete his perfect game… except that Umpire Jim Joyce blew the call, allowing Cleveland’s Jason Donald to be ruled safe, despite needing an extra stride to hit the bag. Galarraga’s game may have been perfect, but Joyce’s wasn’t and neither is the game of baseball as we know it.
Even Cleveland seemed confused when Jason Donald was called safe on the play. Of course, the Detroit Tigers argued and showers of groans and boos filled Comerica Park.
Jim Joyce wanted to call a “do over” on himself. He admitted he was wrong and later, in tears, hugged pitcher Galarraga and apologized, saying “nobody’s perfect,” the ultimate pun/understatement/truth.
Distraught as he paced in the umpires’ locker room, “I just cost that kid a perfect game.” Yes, yes you did. Jim Joyce cost himself his reputation with the armed (another pun!) robbery, being obviously guilty of the 64.
Jim Joyce also robbed the great Ken Griffey, Jr. of the attention he deserves. Griffey announced his retirement from baseball, but that story is now buried behind the WTFs of the Detroit game.
“I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay,” the veteran ump after the fact of the Tigers’ 3-0 win.
Galarraga appreciated the apology, “He felt really bad. He didn’t even shower.” Right, because a lack of hygiene cures that baseball is flawed.
It’s not often that an umpire actually apologizes, but it is even less often that an umpire ruins a game like this.
Who knows what level of technology needs to be integrated into the game, but the human eye (or, more accurately, the middle-aged man eye) is not the most accurate way to judge games. And, as the world learned on June 2nd, the consequences of this faulty system can be as serious as the denial of baseball’s highest pitching accomplishment.
Per the current rules, baseball replays can only be used for questionable home runs. There’s no appealing a judgment call, either by replay or protest, no matter how blatantly obvious the mistake may be.
So far, MLB has declined to comment on Joyce’s call. They are sitting around deciding if there is any good way to correct this terrible happening. A lot of pride may have to be swallowed to right this so very wrong situation.
Also posted on National Lampoon’s Splog