Shocking finale to young Tigers hurler Armando Galarraga’s attempt at perfection last night. If you haven’t seen it already, what should have been the final play of the game unfurled as such;
‘’ Donald hit a grounder in the hole between first and second, Cabrera fielded it and threw to first, where Galarraga caught the ball at least a step ahead of Donald, replays showed.’’
Sadly, the ‘blue’ on the play called the runner safe. Bye bye, perfect game.
The official, Jim Joyce, to his credit, has come out and said he made the wrong call. According to Curt Schilling on ESPN, Joyce is one of the better umpires, and that appears to be the word coming from most media entities this morning. Joyce has said sorry and should be, but of course won’t be, exempt from further blame.
The real issue is the power, the sway that Major League umpires hold over the game of baseball. They would appear to actually think that they are part of the reason that Joe Punter forks over $50 to go watch a baseball game. They would appear to believe they are part of the attraction. This has been the case lately where ‘Cowboy’ Joe West has called out Boston and New York for playing slow games, when the irony is it is his letter box sized, tiny strike zone that is the main cause of same. This was the case where both west and also Bill Hohn recently tossed pitchers early in the game in entirely disproportionate reactions to perceived injustices on the part of the pitchers.
This behaviour should not be a shock to anyone, it has been going on for years now. The incidents just appear to be happening at a faster rate now, and in higher profile situations. The bottom line is, the ‘blue’ has become as big if not bigger than the game, and until Major League Baseball tackles this ridiculous situation, problems like this are going to reoccur over and over.
An interesting side-note to last nights attempt at perfection. The first thing I thought when I saw the play was, considering the situation and the context, shouldn’t Joyce have called the runner out? This would have been a ‘baseball decision’ for want of a better phrase, and pretty much everyone would have gone home happy. The Tigers would have their deserved win, Armando would have had his deserved perfect game, and the Indians would not have complained too much as one hit does not a game make.
ESPN have asked the exact same question and the results are fairly conclusive, most would agree Joyce should have called the runner out even if it had been a ‘tie’ at first base.