June 3, 2010

Armando Galarraga Pitches MLB's Third Perfect Game In Four Weeks, But Umpire Blows Call On Final Out

Armando Galarraga of the Tigers pitched MLB's third perfect game in less than a month tonight in Detroit.

First base umpire Jim Joyce blew an easy call on what should have been the final out of the game. Jason Donald grounded to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who ranged to his right. Cabrera set himself and threw accurately to Galarraga, who took the throw and stepped on the bag at least one full step ahead of Donald. Joyce, who was in perfect position to see the play, called the runner safe.

Galarraga had just begun to raise in arms in celebration when he heard the safe call and offered only a wry smile, similar to the smile he had flashed about five minute earlier, at the start of the ninth inning, when Austin Jackson raced to deep left-center and made an over-the-shoulder basket catch on Mark Grudzielanek's long fly.

Replays immediately showed that Joyce's call was wrong. Galarraga retired the next batter for the complete game one-hitter (the first complete game of his career). In reality, he retired all 28 batters he faced. Perfecto +1.
It should have been the first perfect game in Tigers history (transcription of Tigers radio broadcast).

Joyce saw a replay after the game was over.
I just cost that kid a perfect game. 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. ... I worked with Don Denkinger. I know what he went through, but I had never had a moment like this until tonight.
Galarraga:
I feel sad. 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. He needs to do a better job in that situation. It wasn't even close.
Donald:
I didn't know if I beat the throw or not. But given the circumstances, I thought for sure I'd be called out.
Galarraga did see Joyce afterwards and said Joyce apologized to him. Some reports say Joyce was in tears.
He really feels bad. He probably feels more bad than me. Nobody is perfect. I give a lot of credit to that guy. That (an apology) doesn't happen. He apologized. He feels really bad. Nobody is perfect. What am I gonna do? His body language said more than a lot of words. His eyes were watery, he didn't have too say much. His body language said a lot.
I have no idea how Galarraga could be so poised and classy after what happened to him -- and seeing the replay 20 times.
I got a perfect game. Maybe it's not in the book, but I'm going to show my son the CD.
It's a shame that everyone in the world knows the call was 100% wrong -- Tigers fans, Cleveland fans, all other baseball fans, Galarraga, Donald, even Joyce -- there is no gray area whatsoever -- and yet we have to life with it. It's beyond fucked up. Galarraga retired the next guy, so that makes the correct thing to do very easy:

The umpires should call a press conference and say the call at first was wrong and because it was the final out of a perfect game, Joyce's call is being overturned. And the 28th Cleveland batter is wiped from the books. The Tigers still win the game. And Galarraga gets credit for what he did.

Who could possibly have a problem with this? Official scorers often change their ruling, sometimes several innings later. No one bats an eye. This was not a botched call in the fourth or seventh inning. The game was over when Galarraga's foot hit the bag.

Isn't the whole idea to make sure games are called correctly?

27 comments:

westcoastsox said...

This is the event that will bring instant replay to baseball. And it's long overdue. I hope they do overturn it, but I don't hold out hope.

Michael Holloway said...

"Galarraga had just begun to raise in arms in celebration when he heard the safe call and offered only a wry smile, similar to the smile he had flashed about five minute earlier, at the start of the ninth inning, when Austin Jackson raced to deep left-center and made an over-the-shoulder basket catch on Mark Grudzielanek's long fly."

I can't read him. What did that smile mean after the 1st out? 'The baseball Gods just sent one my way.' And then the same smile after the Joyce call - 'They just took one away.'

Talk about even temperament.

Here's a link to the Jim Joyce post-game interview, he's messed up, almost crying.

http://wxyt.cbslocal.com/2010/06/03/jim-joyce-right-after-he-robbed-armando-galarraga-of-a-perfect-game/

redsock said...

SoSHer DLew On Roids:

"I never thought I'd see James Joyce produce work more incomprehensible than Finnegans Wake."

Michael Holloway said...

"Major League Baseball's decision to lower the pitcher's mound by five inches in 1969 from 15 inches to 10 inches."

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Gibson

We all know MLB juiced the ball after the lock-out/strike - to save the game again, like in 1919 when they juiced the ball to save the game from gamblers. So now MLB has un-juiced the ball to save the game from the steroid scandal and now 3 perfect games in a month... Lowering the mound can't be far away.

Perhaps if they pitched from out of a bowl, a pitching bowl... :)

blogtard said...

Who could possibly have a problem with this?

I have a problem with this. A big problem. This is slippery slope we're dealing with...opening up games after the fact for scrutinizing?

We do this here and now...oh, but only for this very special circumstance. Ninth inning, perfect game situation. That's it. Except, it sets a precedent. It's now POSSIBLE to open games up and change them. So, something happens in a different game...THAT'S JUST NOT RIGHT! It's a travesty! It shouldn't be allowed to stand...

Well. It's been done before.

Sorry. Armando has a place in history either way. He now has a place in baseball lore: The man who was an out away from a perfect game and lost it on a blown call. It's legendary.

Unfortunately for Mr. Joyce, he'll be known as the "guy who blew the call" for all eternity. He should probably call Bill Buckner to see how he should deal with that strain.

FenFan said...

Great post per usual, redsock.

I flipped over to the MLB Network just in time to watch the events unfold live and I was in shock. What gets me is how many times you see close plays like that at first base and, almost every time, the call is an out.

More so now than last night, I feel bad for Joyce, who will have to live with the knowledge that he blew such a big call. He's become this generation's Denkinger. Even so, the argument in favor of instant replay just took a turn in its favor.

What is the best way to implement it? I would argue a system similar to what the NFL uses; each coach gets n number of opportunities to have calls reviewed per game. Balls and strikes would be off-limits, but other instances (trapped balls, close plays at bases, etc.) would be fair game.

As was suggested by Harold Reynolds on MLB Network following the game, have an umpire watch the action from above and relay his decision on a challenge to the crew chief, who would be wearing an ear piece. The time to do this should be minimal.

Gareth said...

As FenFan already said, what was strangest to me is that in these close-ish situations, the umpire almost always seems to err on the side of calling the runner out, so the safe call seemed even more bizarre. I saw the clip in a bar without knowing the context and without sound and couldn't figure out why they kept showing an ordinary out at first base!

Galarraga is one classy player for his post-game reaction; his reaction at the time, too, was faultless, a quick smile and back to work.

redsock said...

This is slippery slope we're dealing with...

No, it's not.

We all want the umpires to get the calls right all the time, yet we refuse to use the existing technology that could make that happen.

There are many ways to improve this situation that would add virtually no extra time to games. All we need is MLB and the umpires to agree that making correct calls is more important than "but we've always done it this way".

blogtard said...

There are many ways to improve this situation that would add virtually no extra time to games.

Yes, but this is an entirely different subject. I'm not saying that more technology shouldn't be introduced into the game. What I'm saying is that you should not be able to open up a completed game and change the calls that took place within it.

Talk about whether or not more technology should be introduced into the game is a different conversation. All I'm saying right now is that when the game is over, it is over.

Disagreeing specifically with this:

The umpires should call a press conference and say the call at first was wrong and because it was the final out of a perfect game, Joyce's call is being overturned. And the 28th Cleveland batter is wiped from the books.

FenFan said...

I think blogtard's point is that we shouldn't go back and change what happened here.

...opening up games after the fact for scrutinizing?

What's done is done; otherwise, should we start pouring over past instances where questionable calls were made and possibly reverse the outcome? That, to me, is the slippery slope we must consider.

If nothing else, last night's debacle should be the final nail in the coffin for the argument against instant replay. As you stated, we have the technology to make this happen.

redsock said...

Disagreeing specifically with this:

Gotcha. Having anything happen the day after is asking for something too radical, I suppose, but it could have been done 10 minutes after the final out.

FenFan said...

it could have been done 10 minutes after the final out

Agreed but unfortunately there is no precedence for this. Should the umpiring crew or MLB overturn the call ten minutes later, let alone ten hours or ten days later?

On a similar note, there was a college playoff hockey game last season where a player shot a puck that entered the goal and went through the netting, but play continued for another ten minutes before officials stopped the game and reviewed the video. Once it became clear that a goal had been scored, the game ended there as the teams were in overtime.

Of course, would the review have happened if the other team had scored during the ten minutes of play before the review took place? It would be interesting to know how such an instance is handled in the hockey instant replay rules.

tim said...

How many times to they change hits to errors and vice versa after the fact?

This is bullshit. Reverse the call.

redsock said...

10.01 Official Scorer (General Rules)

(a) The League President shall appoint an official scorer for each league championship, postseason or all-star game. The official scorer shall observe the game from a position in the press box. The official scorer shall have sole authority to make all decisions concerning application of Rule 10 that involve judgment, such as whether a batter's advance to first base is the result of a hit or an error. The official scorer shall communicate such decisions to the press box and broadcasting booths by hand signals or over the press box loudspeaker system and shall advise the public address announcer of such decisions, if requested.

The official scorer shall make all decisions concerning judgment calls within 24 hours after a game concludes or is suspended. A player or club may request that the League President review a judgment call of an official scorer made in a game in which such player or club participated, by notifying the League President in writing or by approved electronic means within 24 hours of the conclusion or suspension of such game, or within 24 hours of the official scorer’s call, in the event the official scorer changes a call within 24 hours after a game concludes or is suspended, as provided in this Rule 10.01(a). The party requesting review shall submit, before the close of the second business day of the league office following the request for review, any written explanation or other evidence (such as videotapes or electronic media) the player or club wishes the League President to consider in reviewing such request. The League President shall not consider any evidence submitted after the time for submission set forth in this Rule 10.01(a). The League President, after considering the evidence submitted and any other evidence he wishes to consider, may request that the official scorer change a judgment call or, if the League President concludes that the judgment of the official scorer had been clearly erroneous, may order a change in a judgment call. No judgment decision shall be changed thereafter.

***

It looks like a call can be changed up to 48 hours after a game is complete.

The Omnipotent Q said...

And the fun continues today at 1 PM, as guess who is the home plate ump for today's Indians-Tigers finale?

tim said...

Pretty sure that I've seen this play more than any other in sports history.

redsock said...

Agreed but unfortunately there is no precedence for this.

Something has to be the first time.

(Ten days -- No.)

If baseball had an actual Commissioner, he could rule in some executive capacity.

***

Rule 10.01 seems to apply only to official scorers though -- not umps -- and I think that the OS said he would not change the play to an error to preserve the no-hitter. Trying to fix a bad situation by making another totally incorrect call is no good.

FenFan said...

Something has to be the first time.

True, although is this instance the proper vehicle? I mean, Detroit still won the game... or maybe that's reason enough to do it now versus an instance like Denkinger's call.

Either way, I still say implement instant replay NOW. The debate is OVER.

If baseball had an actual Commissioner...

Don't get me STARTED! :-)

L-girl said...

Agreed but unfortunately there is no precedence for this.

So? That's not an argument against anything. For everything you can think of, there was a first time.

Baseball has not remained static since its inception.

There might be a valid argument against what Redsock is proposing - although I can't htink of one - but "it's never been done before" is not one.

FenFan said...

Pretty sure that I've seen this play more than any other in sports history.

More often than the ball rolling through Buckner's legs? More often than Fisk waving the ball fair? :-)

L-girl said...

How many times to they change hits to errors and vice versa after the fact?

Very good point.

The most important factor should be GETTING IT RIGHT.

Not some abstraction of history or human elements or any other vaguely defined - and often contradicted - value. We saw what happened, that is indeed what happened, so make the record reflect that, period.

FenFan said...

MLB deciding whether to review call

"Commissioner Bud Selig has the power to reverse umpire Jim Joyce's missed call that came with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday night in Detroit."

Interesting... I learn something new every day.

redsock said...

They allow review of HRs, but why only that? When you think about it, it makes no sense. It seems tied to the fascination/obsession with home runs.

Why not have review for balls landing near the foul lines? Those are also important -- and may come up more often (and thus have a greater impact on games) than contested dongs.

I wonder where this debate will be in 10 years ...

FenFan said...

Agreed but unfortunately there is no precedence for this.



So? That's not an argument against anything. For everything you can think of, there was a first time.

True, but are we opening Pandora's Box and allowing for other past instances in sports history be changed?

It's a moot point now, though, because apparently there is a precedence, or at least there is in baseball.

FenFan said...

I wonder where this debate will be in 10 years ...

There will be no debate because they are going to implement instant replay in baseball. It has to happen. Fuck Selig and the human element when we have the means to assist the men in blue.

L-girl said...

True, but are we opening Pandora's Box and allowing for other past instances in sports history be changed?

I can't even answer the question, because Pandora's Box unleashed evil into the world, and this would unleash goodness. :)

tim said...

While jack-shit Bud didn't allow the perfect game to be on record, why doesn't the official scorer grow some guts and change it? He HAS 24 hours...

I'd risk my job for it, then sue Bud for wrongful dismissal when he cans me.