(CBS SPORTS) – You never know when the big moments will arrive, and so it was that veteran umpire Jim Joyce made his biggest call of the season … roughly 90 minutes before the Marlins-Diamondbacks game started in Arizona on Monday night?
Joyce administered CPR to a Diamondbacks’ game-day employee in a tunnel leading to the umpires’ dressing room minutes on his way into the ballpark Monday, saving her life in a moment nobody who was in the vicinity at Chase Field will soon forget.
Talk about making the right call in a split-second.
“It was non-normal,” Joyce told CBSSports.com Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t know what word to put on it.
“It’s obviously never happened to me before.”
Joyce, 56, and the other umpires in his crew — Lance Barrett, Jim Reynolds and James Hoye — had just arrived at Chase Field and were headed to their dressing room when they saw a woman down in the midst of having a seizure. Noting that, Joyce, who learned CPR when he was in high school, made sure that the woman’s head was protected. But shortly afterward, her body relaxed and Joyce knew something was wrong.
“I’ve had to use CPR before,” Joyce said, though not in many years. “This is something everybody should know. Everybody should know what to do in a circumstance like that.
“It’s not a hard thing. You don’t need a degree. It’s very simple, and very easy.”
Joyce may be a familiar name to Detroit Tigers’ fans – as he was behind the infamous call that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game on June 3, 2010.
Galarraga was on the verge of making baseball history when Jason Donald of the Cleveland Indians hit a ground ball to second base for what should have been the third out and end of the game.
But even thought the throw to Galarraga, who was covering first, clearly beat Donald, Joyce emphatically called Donald safe.
Galarraga retired the next hitter, but the perfect game was gone.
The Tigers beat the Indians, 3-0.
Afterwards, an emotional Joyce admitted freely that he was wrong and Donald was indeed out.