By Brendan Loy
Baseball almost had its third perfect game in a month tonight. Correction: baseball did have its third perfect game in a month tonight, but the record books won’t reflect that fact, because an umpire blew the call on (what should have been) the game’s final play:
Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers lost his bid for a perfect game Wednesday night with two outs in the ninth inning on a call that first base umpire Jim Joyce later admitted he blew.
First baseman Miguel Cabrera cleanly fielded Jason Donald’s grounder to his right and made an accurate throw to Galarraga covering the bag. The ball was there in time, and all of Comerica Park was ready to celebrate the 3-0 win over Cleveland, until Joyce emphatically signaled safe.
The veteran ump regretted it.
“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” Joyce said. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”
“It was the biggest call of my career,” said Joyce, who became a full-time major league umpire in 1989.
No, but really. Good on the ump for admitting his mistake, and undoubtedly he feels worse than anyone, but jeez.
Now the question is being asked: Should Bud Selig reverse the call and award Galarraga the perfect game? I’m inclined to agree with the writer and say “alas, no.”
Meanwhile, this is just further proof that Detroit is not allowed to have nice things. So it has been decreed, by God, apparently.
UPDATE: Here’s the video. The announcer’s reaction: “What a travesty. What an absolute travesty.”
The New York Times‘s Tyler Kepner calls it “easily the most egregious blown call in baseball over the last 25 years.” (Oddly, the headline writer apparently missed the memo, calling it merely a “Questionable Call.”)
UPDATE 2: Jennifer Granholm tweets: “As governor, I’m issuing a proclamation declaring Galarraga pitched a perfect game!”
Meanwhile, there’s funny commentary on Twitter under the tags #OtherJoyceCalls (my favorite: “Breaking: Jim Joyce declares British Petroleum safe in Gulf Oil Leak”), #JimJoyceFacts (e.g., “Jim Joyce absolutely hates raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” “Jim Joyce likes playing footsies with Larry Craig in public restrooms” and “Jim Joyce gave Old Yeller rabies”) and #gamesJimJoyceruined (“Jim Joyce kept Pedro in too long against the Yankees in 2003”).
UPDATE 3: Here’s audio of Joyce talking about the call.