As we all know by now, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game Wednesday afternoon thanks to an awful call by umpire Jim Joyce. While this was a tragedy, there is something that can be done after the fact. And it should be done as soon as possible.
After retiring the first 26 batters he faced, Galarraga induced a ground ball from Cleveland’s Jason Donald with two outs in the ninth inning. First baseman Miguel Cabrera fielded the ball and tossed it back to Galarraga, who clearly stepped on the base before Donald, for what should have been the final out of a perfect game. Joyce saw it differently at the time.
To be fair to Joyce, umpiring is an awful job and after the game he was quoted as saying, “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (stuff) out of it. I just cost that kid a perfect game.”
To the guy’s credit he knows he screwed up and something tells me he won’t be sleeping well for the next few weeks.
Galarraga then retired Trevor Crowe to end the game with a 3-0 win and a one-hitter.
This is not over though. No one should think it is.
While Galarraga didn’t get to have his celebration on the field, he absolutely deserves to be put into the record books because, frankly, he pitched a perfect game.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig should overrule Joyce’s call. It’s not like this happened in the fourth inning and we don’t know what would have happened had the call been different. The game would have been over, so there can be no speculation over what would have happened had if the call is changed. Selig should rule the play an out, take Donald’s single out of the box score and change the official statistics to read as if the game ended at that point.
I realize it sets a bad precedent for a commissioner to overrule his on-field officials but this is an extraordinary case. Everyone on the planet knows Armando Galarraga deserves to go down in history as having pitched a perfect game.
This is a chance for Selig – probably the most maligned commissioner in sports history – to get something right. To stand apart from the crowd and make a decision that is clearly correct. He needs to do it as soon as possible too. As in, like tomorrow.
Umpire Jim Joyce screwed up. Hey, it happens. The guy is owning his mistake and clearly feels awful about it. Selig could ease his suffering by making this move as well.
The argument for instant replay in Major League Baseball has been growing more and more convincing over the past few seasons. This is yet another point in favor of such a move. The “human element” argument is one of the weakest in all of sports and instant replay could only serve to help better the product between the lines.
But until such a system is in place, this decision falls squarely on the hunched shoulders of Allan Huber “Bud” Selig. We should all be hoping he does the right thing.