Umpire Stole Perfect Game from Everybody
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My children sometimes ask me why I don’t cheer or scream while watching games.
I always give them the same response that I am a journalist. I am here to record history not cheer for it.
That was not the case Wednesday night after Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed by umpire Jim Joyce from recording the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history. I jumped up and down screaming: “I can’t believe he made that call. I can’t believe he called him safe.”
I have never been this angry following a Tigers victory.
Now in my mind Galarraga became the first player to pitch a perfect game by recording 28 outs.
Of course you know what play I am talking about. The entire state is talking about it. There were two outs in the ninth of the Tigers 3-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians when Jason Donald slapped a ball between first and second.
First baseman grabbed the ball and fired the ball to Galarraga for the final out. Galarraga raised his hand in celebration because he knew he beat Donald by a half step to the bag. However, Joyce blew the call and signaled that Donald was safe.
I learned something new about baseball. In a perfect game the pitcher and defense not only must be perfect but the umpires must be perfect also.
Joyce blew it and many of us who hung on every pitch blew up. Folks were angry. Some fans I’ve spoken to believe Joyce not only took the perfect game away from Galarraga but also stole it from the city of Detroit.
We are a town that shares in every feat and believes that at least a small part of it belongs to us. It was the same way when Barry Sanders rushed for 2,000 yards and it was the same when the Red Wings won their four championships under Steve Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom and the rest of the gang.
This feat belonged to the Tigers. It belonged to Galarraga and it belonged to the state of Michigan.
Now it is gone because of a blown call.
I was angry and my only release was watching the Tigers give it to Joyce before he retreated to the umpire’s room, saw the replay and then admitted his mistake.
I am glad he confessed that he blew the call and apologized to Galarraga. I only wish baseball could overturn the decision and give Galarraga his perfect game.
I know that is not possible but this is a call that could have far reaching ramifications.
It will spark the debate for replay in baseball and do not be surprised if replay is introduced in the game under special circumstances.
The blown call might help baseball get the next perfect game right. It’s too bad nothing can be done about Galarraga’s perfect gem that will go into the record books as the most disappointing one hitter in baseball history.