Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The 28-Out Perfect Game

By now I am sure most people have heard about Armando Galarraga’s "Perfect Game" that was taken from him by a blown call from 1st Base Umpire Jim Joyce. Many people have had varied opinions on the subject to how this all should have been handled and was it indeed handled correctly.

Given the circumstances I think that mistakes were made on both sides but in the long run it may make this one games stand out and pass the test of time. This will likely be the game that changes baseball forever. This will most likely make baseball expand the use to some sort of new system for instant replay. No small feat for baseball who does not like to adopt change unless it is set in motion by them and on its own timetable. The 28-out perfect game proved to be in many ways a goodwill storey rather then the storm of controversy like the numerous blown calls in last years playoffs resulted in.

Why is this better? Joyce, upon seeing the replay said that he knew he blew the call and ‘kicked the shit’ out of the call. That the poor kid worked his butt off just to have it taken away from him. Most officials from any other sport would have not addressed the media and would have been ‘protected’ by the union. The fact that Joyce got ahead of it and also made a point to go to the tigers dressing room and apologize to Galarraga made a huge difference on how we perceive this mistake. Next is the way that Galarraga reacted while on the field and handled the situation. Most players would flip out and explode with rage, but not Armando, he smiled...smiled. Sure part was in disbelief but the level of maturity and sportsmanship that he showed is the attitude that kids should emulate. They say that athletes should not be role models, maybe but Galarraga may be the exception to that as well.

Did Bud Selig do the right thing by not overturning the call?? Unfortunately yes, you can’t change a call no matter when it happens in a game after the game, even if it ends play and nothing else is to be decided. Sure it is their fault for being too far behind and not dealing with this inevitability sooner in terms of a replay rule but baseball is never quick to make any change. Who is to say that a simmilar call that happened in the 3rd inning doesn't effect everything that happens going forward. The approach to a hitter will change as the circumstances do. What should have happened was there should have been a conference on the field at the time involving the 4 umpires. At that time of the game with a Perfect Game on the line, everyone in the stadium knew what they were seeing and that includes the other 3 umpires. One (or more) should have had the balls to get the 4 guys together and make the correct call. The second base umpire surely had a good view of the play, all eyes would be on first, someone in a position of authority should have stepped up and helped make the correct call, even if it may "embarrass" a colleague. When even the runner can't believe he was called safe chances are the call may not be correct.

There may have been only 20 perfect games ever thrown but it is the 3rd (had it counted) in less then a month. This one will have a lot more staying power for the way it went down then any other. If Galarraga is at all concerned about his place in history going forward he need not. This game will be linked with perfect games forever, some of his gear has been requested to go to the Hall of Fame, the Tigers organization rewarded him with a Corvette. He gets all the pub and knows what he did was the real deal and if he can handle all that he should be just fine.

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