June 2, 2010

''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.''

ADDED: "Joyce’s decision is easily the most egregious blown call in baseball over the last 25 years." Apparently, you have to go back to Game 6 of the 1985 World Series to get to a worse call. 

88 comments:

SMGalbraith said...

That's okay, we'll have another perfect game in a couple of days.

Strange season; it's pretty obvious that taking the steroids out of the game has really damped down on hitting.

But that's real tough for that pitcher.

traditionalguy said...

Not another 27 consecutive outs with nothing to remember except a blown call at first. Baseball needs to make these pitchers hit a smaller strike zone so that the fans get to see a hit every game or two.And how are those mighty Phillies doing lately?

EnigmatiCore said...

Galarraga will now be known forever as being the poor kid who, by getting jobbed with a bad call, spurred baseball to adopt instant replay.

MadisonMan said...

I don't expect umps to be perfect. Blown calls are part of the game and part of the charm.

Donald said...

Terrible call. The runner even looked stunned that he was called safe. There's never been a perfect game in Tiger history, though I was also watching on TV April 15, 1983 when Milt Wilcox had a perfecto through 8 2/3. But that was broken up by a clean hit--this was just a really bad call by the umpire.

Too many jims said...

That's enough to push a manager to smoke.

edutcher said...

Like this is the first bad call in the history of the game?

Get over it.

Fred4Pres said...

That really sucks.

Fred4Pres said...

edutcher, are you kidding. Chances of that pitcher ever doing that again are very slim. Get over it. It is a terrible thing to a team that does not have a lot going for it.

Jason (the commenter) said...

edutcher: Get over it.

I'm sure everyone will, once the next awful call is made.

Ken Pidcock said...

I would've been the first person in my face, and he never said a word to me.

You just beg to believe that time will reward Armando Galarraga for this. The game knows.

Maguro said...

Instant replay now! Make it happen, Bud.

MadisonMan said...

Let's say the pitcher has a bonus clause in his contract: $250K for a perfect game.

Can he sue the ump?

MadisonMan said...

I mean, I know he can sue the ump -- anyone can sue anybody. But I wonder if he would be awarded damages.

EnigmatiCore said...

Galarraga's post-game interviews have been extremely classy. Good for him.

Damon said...

Yes, really a bummer for the pitcher, but isn't it nicer to know that the Ump is making the call he thinks he sees. If instead he is thinking about preserving a perfect game that is bad umping. Yeah, he blew the call and yeah the situation sucked, but at least he isn't umping like it's basketball.

Mark said...

Is there a Commissioner in the house? The next out was clean, and official scorers are allowed to make judgment calls when they think they've misread errors v. hits.

Give the kid the perfect game. He earned it, and even more important, didn't implode after the blown call.

Mark said...

EC, I agree that it's a sign of professionalism that the umpire called it honest to his perception. Still, it's clear he blew the call (and it's another plus for the umpire that he's willing to admit the mistake - THAT takes class.)

But the Commissioner has powers like no other figure in American life, at least when it comes to his closed system. Selig is a mole of a man, but he could evolve immensely just by saying that the official record should show that Galarraga pitched a perfect game. Give it an asterisk. (Hell, that would make it unique in the annals of Perfect Games.)

Fred4Pres said...

Galarraga forgives the Ump.

Galarraga said he gave Joyce a hug when Joyce apologized to him after the game.

"He really feels bad," Galarraga said. "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."

reader_iam said...

What gets lost and what gets gained with instant replays, is the second question. How is the game changed, is the first.

Jason said...

If this were Japanese baseball, I bet the umpire would know what to do.

reader_iam said...

Especially in terms of comparisons.

Lem said...

I don't expect umps to be perfect. Blown calls are part of the game and part of the charm.

I'm with you MM.

Just say NO to "instant" replay.

Lem said...

A Yankee Red Sox game can easily last 3 1/2 to 4 hours.. can you imagine HOW LONG it would be with "instant" replay?

The oil spill would get plugged before you saw the end of a Yankee Red Sox game.

Lem said...

Kurkjian On Jim Joyce's Disputed Call.

That's the guy who blew the perfect game call!

Gahrie said...

Bad calls are part of the game, like bad weather.

I do believe everyone involved has acted with class.

However if Selig does have the power to overturn the ump's call, he should do so.

reader_iam said...

Thus my observations re: comparisons. Will such change be kept in mind going forward (and in terms of looking back)?

themightypuck said...

Baseball is already slow enough. Chalk it up as an error. Hence no perfect game. Sucks though.

reader_iam said...

My comment of 10:52 is in direct response to the last paragraph of Gahrie's 10:55 (in context of my earlier comments).

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

If I understand you correctly Reader.. if I-replay goes into effect, announcers will have to start saying whether a feat is pre or post instant replay?

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

However if Selig does have the power to overturn the ump's call, he should do so.

The Commissioner has the ability to ban 8 player on hearsay from ever playing the game again, or for the all-time hit leader to ever walk on a field again, let alone enter the Hall of Fame.

In this case, the power of the office could actually be used to prop up the power of the office. Selig is so stupid he might just pass it up.

reader_iam said...

Lem:

If I understand you correctly Reader.. if I-replay goes into effect, announcers will have to start saying whether a feat is pre or post instant replay?

I hadn't thought of it that way (particularly since I was thinking metaphorically in addition to the specific context, terms and point of the subject and case at hand), but perhaps they would, if not by fiat, then at least by the determined [re{?}]shaping of point of view.


If had not made the Hall of Fame because of a lack of hits or home runs, I might start looking at every replay available to squeeze some hits from the archives.

Clearly it would be a drastic change to the game, making it unfair to those that played before.

The past is a big f**ng deal, a big part of this sacred game.


Maybe, maybe not. In any case, it would render the comparisons muddy and muddled, at best (and the discerning not worth the bother for most).

I repeat:

What gets lost and what gets gained with instant replays, is the second question. How is the game changed, is the first.

and

Especially in terms of comparisons.

Mark said...

Lem, this isn't about replay. (Although I admit advocates will say "well, in this case you said...")

This is where the Commissioner needs to act like an Umpire; call the play. "Best interest of Baseball" and all that.

This case is a VERY high standard, and if Bud can't step up, why have a Commissioner?

reader_iam said...

Baseball is not a track and field event, for example, and a track and field event is not baseball, for example. Do we want them to be more alike, is the question, and why, if so.

Lem said...

This is where the Commissioner needs to act like an Umpire; call the play. "Best interest of Baseball" and all that.

This case is a VERY high standard, and if Bud can't step up, why have a Commissioner
?

It would be the equivalent of an asterisk.. it was a bad idea then, its a bad idea now.

Let the bad call stand the same way they always have.

bagoh20 said...

I don't really follow why you would want a known mistake to stay a mistake when it can be remedied honestly and correctly. What honor or tradition is being preserved, error? Hell, lets have the game umped by Stevie Wonder and raise it to perfection, or just spin a wheel to see who wins. If the best performance is not rewarded, when everyone knows it's because of a mistake, then it's a game of chance not skill.

Lem said...

Bad calls are rare.. its not like it's happening every game.

bagoh20 said...

There have been changes made to the game for far less important reasons than getting it right, which should be paramount. Otherwise it's a fraud - not a competition, but a show.

Publius the Clown said...

I feel awful for Armando Galarraga. His perfect game was complete; all he needed was a call that major league umpires get right 99.99% of the time.

But personally, I hope that this doesn't lead the MLB to expand the use of instant replay.

I'm admittedly a purist. I don't think it should even be used for home runs. Part of what makes baseball great is how things stay the same, and umpires have always called the game in real time.

Having said that, since MLB has already made an exception for home runs, I predict that the use of instant replay will be expanded now to include plays in the field. I hope I'm wrong.

bagoh20 said...

Maybe great pitched games from the past were just lucky bad calls in the other direction. That takes a lot away for me. It should be fixed. The effect on the game flow can be controlled through limited number of replayed calls per game. This game only needed one to avoid a very unfortunate event. I think it sucks. He was robbed. Like a thief getting custody of your watch because "possession is 9/10ths of the law". We accept how silly that is in most things, but these guys are playing catch for millions of dollars so why should it make sense?

Lem said...

There have been changes made to the game for far less important reasons than getting it right..

Ok, you want perfection lets get rid of the umps and have the game called by computer. While you are at it why do you need all these high salary players just make them into virtual players a la Disney.. watch'm on the screen everything will be perfect.

reader_iam said...

The effect on the game flow can be controlled through limited number of replayed calls per game.

What do you mean by both "limited" and "limited number," and, moreover, why "per game"? Who or what will determine that, and why and how will that be better than "in real time" and less subject to abuse?

Seriously. I'm asking you, seriously. All of those things.

reader_iam said...

Then there's the obvious other question: Was there any instance, all and every inch of the way, in which the call went the other way for Galarraga? Do we know? Ought we try to find out? Should we care? In any case, would it be considered a wash-out, if so?

It seems to me a matter of picking points for contention.

Methadras said...

One of the worst calls I've ever seen in my lifetime. It is what it is? If baseball had any honor MLB would reverse the call and reinstate the out.

Lem said...

Once we start down the replay rabbit hole it will never stop.

rhhardin said...

It's the pitcher's fault for pitching into a close play.

A real perfect game isn't close.

themightypuck said...

A perfect game can be really really close. There is a lot of luck involved and it all has to go your way. Like I said above, this is tragic because a non-player fucked up but it isn't that different if the shortstop throws an easy ball away for the E.

Lem said...

Look at the NFL. Does anybody remember how many times they changed the replay rules? its like every year new replay rules.

Its ridiculous.

SFC B said...

While you are at it why do you need all these high salary players just make them into virtual players a la Disney.. watch'm on the screen everything will be perfect.

Yes, because wanting to use readily available and deployable technology used to good effect in other, similar, endeavors = removing people from the game entirely and just having some algorithms tell us who won.

And, honestly, the time that baseball spends in commercial break or managers swapping out pitchers after one batter (LaRussa, I'm looking at you!) is a far greater time sink, and far more frustrating for a fan, than the time that would be spent on instant replay.

Bring on the computerized strike zone and instant replay!

reader_iam said...

Tell you what: Joyce should quit his job and his career, on principle. Galarraga should get back what he lost. Instant replay in MLB should be instituted as a standard procedure more broadly, and maybe even in general.

This thread has left an impression, I'm convinced.

Greg Hlatky said...

The play where the pitcher covers first base on a grounder is probably one of the trickier ones in baseball. Look at the replay: had Guillen, the second baseman, could have fielded the ball easily and thrown to Cabrera at first. It wouldn't have been close: perfect game.

Clyde said...

I have to respectfully disagree with those who think that blown calls are "part of the game and part of the charm." That might have been true in the distant past when not every game was televised and the technology didn't exist to correct egregiously bad calls like the one last night. But since we do have the technology and every game is being televised with multiple camera angles, we shouldn't have to settle for "oh, well, it was a bad call, suck it up, move on." The most important thing should be to GET THE CALL RIGHT. Period. Full stop.

They should use instant replay for any key call except for balls and strikes, and if the replay is inconclusive, then the call by the umpire should stand. I read one suggestion of allowing each manager one replay challenge per game. Most of the time, it wouldn't come into play anyway. But I'd rather see the game go ten minutes longer and the right call be made than for the game to be shorter and wrong.

I watched the game from the fifth inning on (the opposing pitcher, Fausto Carmona, is on my fantasy team) and so I saw a pitcher throw a perfect game and have it robbed from him by a bad call. And I agree with those who commended Armando Galarrage for his classy response after the game. He showed himself to be a true professional by calmly finishing the game, no matter how disappointed he was by the call.

Bob Ellison said...

Nobody has ever pitched a real perfect game. That would require 81 consecutive strikes.

Bob Ellison said...

Correction: Chuck Norris once pitched a perfect game with just one roundhouse pitch to the head.

2yellowdogs said...

Aaah, that's nothin'. Don f-ing Denkinger cost the Cards a WORLD SERIES with a first base call that was worse than that one. We lived. So will Detroiters.

Scott M said...

The real reason baseball is played on such a large expanse of green grass is because watching it all grow is, in fact, more fun than watching the game being played on it.

Gahrie said...

Nobody has ever pitched a real perfect game. That would require 81 consecutive strikes.

Not true, you could just as easily say a true perfect game is 27 pitches..27 ground outs to first base.

The job of the pitcher is not to get strikeouts, it's to get outs.

EDH said...

The NYT account of the play is confoundingly ambiguous, with a couple of important implications.

Armando Galarraga squeezed the ball in his mitt, stepped on first base with his right foot and was ready to celebrate the first perfect game in Detroit Tigers' history...

''I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay,'' he said after the Tigers' 3-0 win.


So, was it a "catch the ball and then tag the base" play or "catch the throw with your foot simultaneously on the base" play at first base?

Aren't first base umpires instructed to "listen to the glove" and "watch the bag" on throw-outs at first?

Maybe somebody with better knowledge of the play can say whether that method of umpiring at first base had anything to do with the error in call.

EnigmatiCore said...

It was a bang-bang play, but as far as those go it was not particularly close. Umps get that call right nearly always.

I don't understand the impulse to be conservative here for the sake of being conservative. Human error has been part of the game forever, so that means live with it when it can be rectified? I don't get that. Instant replay has been implemented in football, and despite some problems its been mostly successful. It's been implemented in basketball. It's been implemented in hockey. Those sports have gone on pretty successfully. Baseball has even implemented it, if I am not mistaken, on some things without the sky falling.

Baseball is a game that has plenty of pauses and delays, so taking a moment to get critical calls correct when we have the means to do so strikes me as a no-brainer.

I remain convinced, however, that Galarraga set the bar very high in regards to sportsmanship and class in the way he has reacted to his misfortune.

Jenner said...

Referees' calls shouldn't interfere with the "outcome" of the game, only allow it to be played in a fair way. This call didn't change the outcome. Are referees tasked with protecting individual player's statistics too?

Bob Ellison said...

EnigmatiCore is correct: Galarraga set a great example.

So did Jim Joyce. In the end, this was a tragedy, but one that will be remembered, and both Galarraga and Joyce provide examples to everyone on how to behave.

Darcy said...

I have an admitted bias. I'm a life-long die-hard Tigers fan.

Having said that, that call has to rank up there as one of the worst calls in the history of baseball, and the outrage over it from baseball fans of all stripes should tell you that. So when I read basically "Eh...bad calls are part of the game" it's...well, disappointing is the nicest way to put it. Believe me, nice words are not what is in my head in reaction to that kind of statement.

A young man who was just called up from the minors pitched a perfect game. A perfect game. A no-hitter is rare enough - but a perfect game? Never in the history of the Tigers baseball club. The chance of this opportunity for this kid happening again? Close to zero. And he was robbed of it by a bad call.

The ump is human and did everything right after the mistake. Galarraga was even more impressive. I don't want a replay in baseball. I don't even want an asterisk for Galarraga. But a little understanding of how monumental a mistake this was would be appreciated.

The love of sports is an emotional thing, as true sports fans know. It means something that people who aren't even fans of the ball club feel the same way I do. It eases the heart a little.

To all those commenters here who got this and commented similarly - thank you, from a Tigers fan.

EDH said...

It was a bang-bang play

Okay, I just saw the video.

The ump probably should have got his eyes on the bag sooner. As it was, it appears he watched the ball being fielded by the first baseman and brought his head around with the throw to make the erroneous call at first.

What I can't believe is the bemused look on the pitcher's face immediately after the call was made.

k*thy said...

You don't see it often, but Galarraga is a class act.

jrberg3 said...

madisonman:
Blown calls are part of the game and part of the charm.

I'm sorry, but there is nothing charming about a blown call, especially one of this magnitude. Umpires are paid well to get these calls right. My 5 year old daughter could be trained to make most calls, it is plays like these that require umpires and it is not charming when they get it wrong. It's infuriating.

Baseball needs an umpire whose soul job would be replay review (like in hockey). You couldn't put the two sports and replay in context any better than last night where in game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals where a review of a missed goal was corrected.

Leland said...

I have no issue with the blown call. The participants, as was stated earlier, have acted with pure class. Baseball is full of objective and subjective judgements. The first and ultimate subjective decision is the strike zone. Baseball doesn't need instant replay, and to the extent it would be useful, it can also be overly abused as in the NFL now.

The only reason it matters to change the results is for some untangible concept of fairness. Galarraga is no better or worse a pitcher because of the bad call. The suggestion that he is somehow different because of the bad call is as subjective as the umpire's call.

As for those complaining about a reduction in hits; I submit to you the opponents of the Houston Astros.

jrberg3 said...

Not true, you could just as easily say a true perfect game is 27 pitches..27 ground outs to first base.

The job of the pitcher is not to get strikeouts, it's to get outs.

"...strike outs are boring, besides that they're fascist. Throw some ground balls, they're more democratic..." - Crash Davis from Bull Durham

k*thy said...

As Ken said, ealier, the game knows. Armando Galarraga was denied a place in baseball's records, but his equanimity has secured his place in its history.

The people who this matters to, will know. It will not be forgotten. That's what's great about baseball.

Darcy said...

@k*athy and Ken:

Those were very comforting thoughts, and kind of what I was getting at, but didn't convey as well as you.

The game knows. Real fans know. It's a big part of why I adore the game.

Publius the Clown said...

Several commenters have argued in favor of instant replay, and pointed out that its use (and its effect on game times) could be limited by having only a finite number of reviewable calls (e.g., one use per manager per game).

But if that's the way it's done, what are the odds that this play would have been reviewable? Both teams may have used up their challenges by then. Any limit on the use of instant replay could lead to this same scenario.

Also, why limit the use of instant replay to plays in the field? There will be some ball-strike call in a would-be perfect game or no-hitter, or in an outcome-altering playoff situation, that's clearly wrong, and suddenly everyone will be clamoring for even those calls to be reviewable by IR.

If the principle is "get it right," the logical end result is unlimited instant replays for every type of call umpires make. And hey, "get it right" has a lot to be said for it.

But I still feel that umpires making real time calls is part of baseball. The use of IR could end up altering the nature and pace of the game in a way that people could regret, years hence.

silverpie said...

Mark: even if the official scorer overturns the ruling of hit, that doesn't give him a perfect game--a runner reached base, even by error, which disallows a perfect game. It would, however, give him a no-hitter.

Original Mike said...

"Blown calls are part of the game"

Yes, they are.

"and part of the charm."

I will never understand that sentiment.

Chris said...

I grew up in the Detroit area & am a Tiger fan. Now I live in Oregon & Jim Joyce (the umpire) is my neighbor. He coached my son's youth basketball team & his son was my son's teammate in high school football & basketball. He's a great guy who love the game, loves his job & has an excellent reputation in MLB. When I heard he was the ump who blew the call, I just felt sick because I know how bad he would feel. He handled it as well any could ask & I sure hope this doesn't hurt his career. He deserves better.

Trooper York said...

Cedarford just twittered that the umpire is Jewish.

So there you go.

c3 said...

An "unperfect game" in an imperfect game

Original Mike said...

"Bad calls are rare..,"

How do we know this? It wouldn't be a hard study to do. Has it been done? I bet there are a lot of bad calls.

Original Mike said...

It would seem to me it would be pretty easy to implement replay in baseball. Make it a booth review, only, with no ability for a manager to initiate it. In a case like this, an ump upstairs would see the error on replay and change the call. It wouldn't impact the flow of the game hardly at all.

Blue@9 said...

"He really feels bad," Galarraga said. "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."

And yet, Mr. Galarraga, you really were perfect that day.

Methadras said...

Bob Ellison said...

Correction: Chuck Norris once pitched a perfect game with just one roundhouse pitch to the head.


The most interesting man in the world approved Chuck Norris. He's that good.

Methadras said...

Gallaraga showed what kind of a character he possesses and the direct bearing it had on his humility towards situation and the umpire. Deep down he's pissed, but he will never show it because real men of good character understand that circumstances being what they are can be out of their control. Gallaraga did the right thing under an extreme circumstance. The umpire, even though he blew the call, at the time was convinced he made the right call at the time, but upon reflection and replay he knew that he was wrong and admitted it. Unfortunately, the blame and responsibility of this falls on the umpire and he will live with this one the rest of this life. Both of these individuals confronted each other about it with grace, dignity, and most of all with respect. I can't stress the level of respect shown enough.

This situation should be used as a classic example to children and adults alike on how to behave professionally, ethically, and morally in difficult circumstances. People know how it should have happened, but the people involved dealt with it like adults. I'm debating whether I should take back my previous statement or not on this situation. I'm leaning towards taking it back.

I sincerely believe after watching the aftermath of this that a valuable lesson was being taught to us and I hope that it doesn't get lost.

Steve said...

A couple of points:

1) The kid pitched a perfect game. The umpire blew it. There should be an extra-special category for pitchers that get 28 people out in a single game.

2) It was the first baseman's fault. That was the second baseman's ball and if the first basement would have stayed where he was supposed to there would be no issue.

3) It was the pitcher's fault. He was shuffling his feet next to the bag when the ball hit his glove. Umpires use their hearing just as much as their eyes in that situation. The ump was looking at feet heard the ball hit the glove when the pitcher's foot was not on the bag. The ump looked up at the glove saw the ball in there and then looked back at the bag an both feet were on the bag, tie goes to the runner.

Don't except perfection from the ump when no one else on that side of the field was perfect either. It would be really classy if the pitcher and first baseman admitted their mistakes as well.

Steve said...

I just noticed there are more Tigers fans on this comment stream than there were at the game.

Grant said...

He could still get a no-hitter if the scorer changes it from hit to E-U. Whatever happened to the game being bigger than the players though? They still won.

Bryan C said...

"The use of IR could end up altering the nature and pace of the game in a way that people could regret, years hence."

There have been all sorts of changes to the nature and pace of the game over the years. The changes that would result from allowing instant replays would be nothing in comparison to installing lights for night games, allowing aluminum bats, or the evil designated hitter rule.

w/v "ingst" - the pervasive feeling of unease experienced while stuck working indoors on a pretty day.

Bob Ellison said...

Methadras, I second that emotion. This is a great baseball story. Galarrago pitched a perfect game, and everyone knows it, and he also pitched a perfect example of how to behave. Jim Joyce did, too-- he didn't wait to consult the league or consider his job situation; he did what no umpire I've ever heard of has ever done: he admitted he was wrong, loudly, publicly, and personally.

These two men are heroes of sport.

Chase said...

If you sign up to play by the rules, or watch the game by the rules, then why do you complain about and seek to circumvent the rules when it doesn't go the way you like?


I blame illegal aliens. Seriously. The majority of illegal aliens are from a culture that has far less respect for the rule of law - would they be here illegally if that was not true? And that disrespect for the rule of law bleeds into society at large.

Which is another way of saying that instead of working within the law to change the law, our culture will grow in disrespect of the rule of law, until we are like . . . oh hell, will anything really matter at that point anymore?