Jim Joyce, A Criminal in Blue
The perfect game. It's a beautiful thing. It's a historic moment. It's every pitcher's dream. And Wednesday night, that dream was crushed in the worst possible fashion.
It was perhaps the worst call in the history of Major League Baseball. Jim Joyce, a veteran umpire with over 22 years of service, blew a call that would have made history.
Never have three perfect games been thrown in a single season, let alone with a period of one month. And the only other time it happened twice in a season, it was within a week. That feat was nearly accomplished today, except for the fact that Joyce, the veteran ump, blew a call that will haunt him forever.
After the most spectacular of defensive plays for the first out of the ninth by Austin Jackson, a play that makes Willie Mays' catch look like Little League, Galarraga was ready for history. On an relatively easy Jason Donald grounder, Galarraga covered first. He caught the ball, he tagged the base, but was called safe.
And why? Because Joyce robbed him, plain and simple. Rather than make history in a good way, he decided to do it the wrong way... by cheating the city of Detroit and their beloved Tigers out of what would have been the greatest performance in franchise history.
But instead. ... "Safe" was the call, even though "out" was the right one. And every angle proves it. Every single person in the world, other than you, knew that Donald was out. The baseball world is sick to their stomach, and now it might be time to revisit the limited use of instant replay.
Joyce did one right thing—he admitted he was wrong on the FSN Detroit postgame show: "I had a great angle on it, i just missed the damn call. I missed it from here, to the wall." At 9:27 p.m. ET, on June 2, he admitted it.
He admitted that he took a once-in-a-lifetime moment away from a young man. He admits that his mustache wasn't the worst thing on the field tonight.
But admitting to it doesn't make anything better. It doesn't put Galarraga into the record books, although it should, perhaps with an asterisk, but it should.
I'm not a Tigers fan. I'm just a baseball fan. And as a baseball fan, I'm saying what everyone is thinking. Joyce, you are a bum, and the worst thing to happen to baseball since, well, ever.
Steroids, Pete Rose, the Chicago Black Sox—none of that compares to what you did today, Joyce.
Admit that you're a criminal, and retire. Baseball doesn't want your services anymore.
21st perfect game in Major League History... June 2, 2010: Armando Galarraga*
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