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Blown call costs Galarraga perfect game, mlb history

June 2, 2010

The perfect game is one of the hardest feats in all of professional sports. It has only been done 20 times throughout MLB history. Funny thing is, three of those times have happened within the past 10.5 months with two happening already this season.

Armando Galarraga should’ve been number 21 on that list.

Galarraga retired 26 consecutive Cleveland Indians Wednesday night at Comerica Park in Detroit. But it was the 27th Cleveland hitter who broke up the perfect game. Or should I say, it was first base umpire Jim Joyce. Donald hit a ground ball in-between first and second base with two outs in the ninth. First baseman Miguel Cabrera ranged to his right, gloved the ball and fired to Galarraga covering first. Galarraga’s right foot touched the bag a full step before Donald’s foot arrived, but Joyce inexplicably called Donald safe – putting his name along side Don Denkinger atop the list of “Worst blown calls in professional sports.”

For several moments after the boneheaded mistake, Detroit manager Jim Leyland argued with Joyce to no avail. After Galarraga retired the next batter – finishing an 88-pitch, complete-game one-hitter – many of the Tigers’ roster and coaches convened on the field looking for blood. However, no harm was done, and all parties escaped peacefully.

Now here’s the thing: This scenario should never have happened. Galarraga should have his name beside Halladay, Braden and Buehrle.  But because of Bud Selig and MLB’s refusal to expand instant replay to the bases, Jim Joyce has to live with himself as “the guy who caused a perfect game to not be.”

Joyce has a reputation of being a great umpire – unlike the few knuckleheads who have put themselves over the game in the past couple weeks. This is his 21st year on the job and has umpired two World Series. Joyce has taken full responsibility for the gaffe stating, “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the s*it out of it … I just cost that kid a perfect game.”

Galarraga has handled the incident with class, although he was upset about it. Who wouldn’t be, after losing a perfect game on a blown call…ON THE LAST OUT!? “I feel sad,” Galarraga said. “I just watched the replay 20 times and there’s no way you can call him safe. I wish I could talk to the guy that took a perfect game away from me.”

After the game, Joyce apologized to Galarraga, Galarraga accepted the apology and the two men shared a hug. Now, Bud Selig needs to apologize to Galarraga and award Galarraga with a perfect game – one he rightly deserves. MLB hasn’t fully expanded instant replay because of how many calls could be reviewed that would add time to the game. The commissioner wants fans to be happy and get home at a reasonable time, not be happy about the umpires getting every call right.

If instant replay was allowed Galarraga would have a perfect game on his record and every single fan would have went home happy from Comerica Park tonight. But no, the goons in the MLB offices don’t think getting every call right is the best solution for the game. As long as the game is under three hours, who cares how many blown calls there were? As long as the 5-year-olds are in bed before 11, that’s what commissioner Selig is really worried about, not that history could be at stake or a World Series title is decided by a blown call.

Yeah, until Mariano Rivera is in the same place as Armando Galarraga was tonight, and the winning run scores in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 of the World Series, I highly doubt Selig does anything to help the game and history.

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From → Odds & Ends

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