OK, after being bombarded with Jim Joyce hatorade today, I took a nice long look at the perfect game that wasn't.
If you live under a rock, MLB umpire Jim Joyce is the latest official embroiled in controversy (refer to earlier article, about three or four under this one). Detroit pitcher Armando Gallaraga was one out away from a perfect game (first one in Detroit franchise history and the third this season). He needed only one out, and Joyce prevented that from happening. Judge for yourself below:
((Image HT:MLB Network))
However, Joyce did something most umpires that suck DO NOT do: he admitted he was wrong. He admitted to Gallaraga he blew it. He gave the guy a hug.
UMPIRES ARE HUMAN! Even Detroit skipper Jim Leyland admitted that "players are human, umpires are human, and managers are human."
Did the call suck? Yes. Is Jim Joyce the Anti-Christ? No.
As a fellow umpire, I've seen my fair share of close calls. Have I gotten them all right? Hell no. Have I given my best every time I put on the blue? You damn right. Jim Joyce has done that his entire career (2 World Series games, several playoff games, a couple of All-Star games), and one call shouldn't haunt him his entire life.
You want to be mad at someone? Be mad at Uber-Selig for not reversing the call. He has the power to overturn Joyce's bungled call and give Gallaraga the perfect game. He said no. All Uber-Selig said today in a press conference is that MLB is looking into expanding the use of replay. Didn't even mention the blown call.
I loved the quote St. Louis Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa gave the AP:
"I was thinking if the umpire says he made a mistake on replay, I’d call it a no-hitter, perfect game. Just scratch it. If I was Mr. Selig, in the best interest of the game. The guy got it and I’d give him his perfect game. But here again, I should just shut my mouth."
Bad calls are a part of the game. Selig could have used his power to fix it. He did not.
Be mad at Uber-Selig. In my opinion, Jim Joyce is one classy individual for how he handled this situation. I do not hold this one call against him. If we were all perfect , then life would be boring.
Get off of Joyce's back. Get onto Selig's. Write letters. Send emails. Pick up the phone. Call your congressman. MLB screwed this one up more than Joyce did.
I'm not usually this deep, just deep in it.