Baseball Responds To Bad Call With A Worse Call

Now that more than 24 hours have passed since an umpire’s bad call ruined Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga‘s bid for a perfect game, it’s safe to say most people have simmered.

There’s no doubt that Jim Joyce was remorseful following Wednesday’s game, which saw the first-base ump make the wrong call on what should have been the 27th and final out of Galarraga’s historic moment.

Both Galarraga and Joyce have handled themselves better than I could have expected since Wednesday’s game. Galarraga admitted mistakes can be made and did the best he could to grin and bear it. And Joyce acknowledged that he messed up, ruining a perfect game that is the crowning achievement of the pitching profession. It’s 27 up, 27 down. You can’t beat that.

Galarraga realizes how tough an umpire’s job is. So many plays are bang-bang, and there’s a lot of variables which can lead to an ump being in bad position.

Those plays can come down to a split-second, so there is room for error.

And while Joyce had very little time to get it right, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig had 24 hours to make it so. So what’s his excuse?

Selig hasn’t said much publicly about the outcry to reverse Joyce’s call and rule Galarraga’s effort perfect. But various news outlets are reporting through sources that the call won’t be reversed.

It’s not like a reversal of a bad call hasn’t happened before. Remember the Pine Tar Game? George Brett homers, but an ump rules him out due to too much pine tar. Brett famously goes ballistic. Baseball intervenes and awards Brett with the go-ahead homer, and the game is continued from that point at a later date.

I’ve heard Game 6 of the 1985 World Series referenced a lot. Baseball didn’t right a wrong then, so how can they now? But just because a bad call was made once shouldn’t mean baseball should just keep getting it wrong over and over and over again. 

Selig’s decision would have zero outcome on anything other than granting Galarraga his rightful place in baseball history, rather than the place in baseball history he’s been left with. The Cleveland Indians lose 3-0 with or without that hit. So what’s the holdup? I imagine Selig will sidestep any questions about a reversal, so we might never know.

I heard Minnesota Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer say that if Selig reversed the call, it opens up a Pandora’s box of sorts to have to reverse future calls. But Selig is the commissioner. Protecting the integrity of the game is his job. This is why he’s paid like $15 million per year.

And besides, even without a reversal, people are clamoring for one. There might more of a precedent to reverse a future call, but as I just mentioned, there already is precedent.

To me, this is a slam dunk. Let’s take the monkey off Joyce’s back once and for all. Let’s get it fixed. Let’s right a wrong.

7 Responses

  1. Stupid

    Life’s unfair, crap happens. Same is true in any thing else in this world including baseball. Both guys have handled it spectacularly. The clamoring for it to be reversed? C’mon.

    Ever heard the phrase “S**t happens, deal”? Besides which, the moment is LONG gone. He and his teammates deserved to have the moment to celebrate on field, and it was taken away unfortunately. What happens if its overturned? Will we tell them to go out to the mound and jump around before a game? That’ll go over well.

    Bad calls have happened FOREVER in baseball. It’s the human element. This may not even be the worst call ever, but it happened in an era where media coverage is non-stop and thus got played up more. Seriously, if you are going to overturn this, then you practically do have to open the book on EVERY bad call ever made. Do we award the Cardinals the 1985 World Series Championship? Strip the Yankees of the 1996 World SEries Title & AL Pennant because of Jeffrey Maier? The list goes on and on. They can go forward however they want, whether its adding replay or not, but what’s done is done.

    1. John Parent over at Fansided’s Motor City Bengals Detroit Tigers site diragsees, and that&#821… I can understand his frustration. If the roles were reversed, and Fausto Carmona was robbed of a perfect game, I would be livid. (Of course, all this controversy masks that Carmona made a damn fine start himself). But you simply cannot overreact to this. If you want to use this as a springboard to get instant replay in baseball, be my guest. I’m for anything that improves the accuracy of the game. Instant replay definitely would have fixed this mess. But actually altering the outcome of the game after the fact should only be done in the most important of situations. And I’m sorry, an early June game between the Indians and the Tigers doesn’t count as important.

  2. Steve

    The difference between this game and the George Brett game was the Royals immediately protested the game and the Tigers did not. Due to the protest the play was changed and because of that they started the game from that point. Big difference from what happened on Wednesday. The Tigers argued it, but I haven’t heard that the game was played under protest. Even if they did protest it, the were no rules broken so the protest wouldn’t be upheld. It was just a bad call that everyone’s going to have to deal with. If we start protesting every bad call and replaying every game from that point on, baseball will never finish the season. If the Tigers get to restart from that point, do the Twins get to play the 11th inning on Wednesday also?? Same exact play, but was actually worse for the Twins since they lost the game on the call, whereas the Tigers were still going to win that game.

  3. Drew

    Baseball is a game that is subject to the human element.

    The blown call by Joyce was in fact a bad call however, the outrage that has surfaced over this seems a little rediculous.

    How many times during the game was a call made that went in the favor of the Tigers and/or the Pitcher? I would imagine that there are NUMEROUS called strikes that should have been ball four.

    My point is this. Yes, it sucks that the call was blown however just because it is the last play of the game doesn’t make that specific call more important than every other call during the game.

    I’m all for more instant replay in baseball HOWEVER to assume that the MLB should overturn the call and make it a perfect game is rediculous.

    Doing that would be unnecessary and unfair to the game.

  4. Tim

    I think the whole “human element” excuse is bogus. The human element is fine when it comes to throwing the ball, hitting the ball, or catching the ball. The human element is fine when it comes to judgement calls like calling balls and strikes or calling a balk. The human element argument does not hold water when it comes to an obvious, black-or-white, linear call such as a runner being out or safe at first base.

    I agree with Goethe on this, reversing the call would have no effect on the outcome of the game. It’s the commissioner’s J-O-B to make calls like this and not cop out with a lame “human element” excuse. How are you protecting the integrity of the game by allowing an accomplishment to go unacknowledged? IMO, that’s the opposite of protecting the integrity of the game.

    The perfect game is the holy grail of pitching. The Tigers, in their 116 year history, have never had a pitcher throw one. This only becomes a Pandora’s box if Bud Selig lets it become a Pandora’s box. It’s his responsibility to evaluate things like this on a case by case basis and in no way does he have to box himself into a corner by reversing this call.

    Ask Jim Joyce if he would overturn the call if he had the opportunity and the ability, I know what you’ll get for an answer.

  5. Schlossman

    The difference between this mistake and past bad calls is that the game was over. It’s not affecting anyone, it’s not changing the outcome of the game… nothing.

    It’s like in hockey when they review a goal after the game and determine it was deflected in front of the net. The right person gets the proper credit, but it doesn’t change anything about the game.

    In most circumstances, you cannot change it, because the game went on afterwards. This is a very unique situation where MLB does have a chance to change it. Why not do it?

  6. truth harvestor

    Tampering with ‘pandora’s box ‘ is pretty damn easy to do when you’re just a writer or a blogger or a arm chair knowitall not equipped to deal with the consequences or even understand them. I don’t care how much Selig makes , I don’t think it is in his job description to make these decisions . The President can’t make many dictitorial decisions without congressional approval or without the supreme court ruling on many decisions , why should Selig be more singularly empowered? And ESPECIALLY Selig! This guy was jello spined when he could of done some real good when the steroid issue was getting traction , he did NOTHING. When the Twins were on life support , SELIG wanted to pull the plug , he said famously that the one good year after the Twins were saved ‘that it was just an ABBERATION”! We are now in the 9th straight year of abberations!!! I don’t want one of the worst commishs ever to be making a pandora’s box decision!!!
    And I don’t give much credibility to all these incidents that fans can dig up as ‘precedents’ . That is always imperfect because of the ‘cherry picking ‘ tendency of human nature.

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