Blown Perfect Game Call Costs Galarraga History, May Help Expansion of Instant Replay


jim joyce

We were robbed of an 80’s pop culture icon when actor Gary Coleman recently passed away. And in a blown call yesterday, which likely would’ve had Coleman saying: “Whatchu talking about Willis?” major league baseball fans were robbed of the greatest feat in baseball: The Perfect Game.

Detroit Tiger’s pitcher Armando Galarraga came within one foot (literally) of throwing the 21st perfect game in major league history, when a clearly blown call (as admitted by the umpire making it) had him settling for a one hit shut out instead.

Is umpire Jim Joyce really to blame for stealing history? Or is major league baseball to blame for ignoring the obvious?

By Soxman


First and foremost I’m a Chicago White Sox fan; even more than a major league baseball fan. With no love for the Detroit Tigers, and no intention of stealing Paul Schmidt’s reporting job, I can recognize greatness in the game. I can also recognize right from wrong and the ultimate need for change.

To Armando Galarraga: You were ripped off.

To Umpire Jim Joyce: You blew the call. Thanks for manning up and admitting it.

To Baseball Fans (especially those of the Tigers): A higher power than Jim Joyce is to blame for this debacle. Forgive him. He’s human.

To baseball historians and protectors of the game’s integrity, you were robbed of:

· The 21st perfect game in major league history.

· Fewest pitches (88) in a perfect game since Addie Joss’ 74 in 1908

· Shortest perfect game (1:44) since Koufax’s 1:43 in 1965 (sorry Mark Buehrle)

· The third perfect game this decade, one short of the all-time record, with more than nine and a half seasons to go.

To Major League Baseball: Guilty as Charged.

Why the prosecution of MLB as a whole? For failing to evolve with the times.

“To error is human.” So in ignoring the utilization of any and every tool to make the best possible determination on any aspect of life, let alone this game, we are tacitly accepting that disappointments such as this will remain part of it forever.

MLB’s “error in their ways” is doing so much to protect the integrity of the game, yet ignoring the foundation upon which it was built: fair play.

My message (and likely the message of all Tigers fans today) is simple:

Expand the use of Instant Replay!

Those who say using instant replay or any form of technology to aid in ensuring a call is correct, honestly should be lumped in the same category as parents who don’t believe in using any form of modern medicine to treat a sick child. They are cookoo for Cocoa Puffs.

In baseball, players use the latest equipment to improve their game or reduce the threat of injury, yet there are no screams of “integrity violation” there.soxman

We have made controversial decisions by awarding home field advantage in the World Series to the winner of an exhibition game. We address the assertion (and truth) that most selected players no longer hustle or try. Yet we cannot make an easy call to ensure the right decisions are made in games that count?

The opponents of Instant Replay who believe it’s expanded use will extend an already long game should look at the minimal impact it has had on Football and Hockey.

While Armando Galarraga was pitching the game of his life, instant replay was used to confirm a critical goal for the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals.

They later went on to win a critical game three on their home ice.

Just as much, if not more time is added to games as players and managers argue bad calls to the point of being thrown out of the game. Maybe purists believe that this tomfoolery is part of the “integrity” of the game?

Does this not send a message to children, that you should ignore finding the truth if it takes too long, but swear, complain and act immature over a decision you don’t agree with?

Others have argued that instant replay works in football and hockey because far less games are played and therefore there is a greater impact on a team’s season if the call is wrong.

Penn and Teller have a show on cable whose title is my response to that one.

So if I’m a doctor who does 16 (football) heart surgeries a year vs. another who does 162 (baseball), only I should be using the latest advances in surgical assistance in the surgery because my patients represent a higher mortality statistic?

As a fan of the game since I was born, loving the game far and above all other sports, I have heard critics of my game say that major league baseball is slow.

Today, I agree with them.

I agree that they are slower than Paul Konerko sprinting to first base when making important decisions. As was the case with their policy on performance enhancing drugs, baseball executives are like the little child who continuously tests the pool water with his toes saying the water is too cold, even though everyone else has already jumped in and is swimming.

Jump in and swim before the summer passes you by.

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