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.