Baseball purists cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
It's as plain and simple as that.
Oh, don't get me wrong. Jim Joyce blew the call outright on Jason Donald's ground ball to first base with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday night. He's not without blame.
But it's the baseball purists, who wax nostalgic about World Series games in the afternoon, four-man rotations, and pitchers hitting who are culpable here.
Baseball purists talk about "embracing the human element" of the game. Mistakes happen, they say, and baseball has lived with those mistakes for over a century. Why change it now? Umpires are part of the game. Always have been. Why should it be different now?
This is why.
This is what embracing the human element has wrought. History is ruined. Unless MLB commissioner Bud Selig steps in and does something—and yes, I think he should, because if anything defines "extenuating circumstances," this does—Galarraga has been cheated.
This wasn't an ordinary blown call, where people argue back and forth about what would have happened in the future had it been right, and ultimately we move on.
This wasn't an umpire showing up a pitcher for the camera. Maybe you think it is, but that's not what's important here.
This was a perfect game that suddenly wasn't. This was a chance for something magical that turned into just another one-hitter.
(On a totally unrelated note, I wish the official scorer had given him an error on the play by saying something like "he bobbled it." I mean, as long as we're seeing things that didn't really exist, why not cut the kid some slack?)
This was bound to happen. And it will happen again.
You know the old saying about a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters for a thousand years putting out the works of Shakespeare? Same concept. Give a thousand umpires 100 years, and they'll screw up a perfect game.
And we owe it to the players and the fans to stop it.
Joyce made the wrong call. There will never be any doubt of that. But the impact and the result of that blown call lies squarely in the hands of the people who desperately cling to baseball's past in the face of logic and reason. The people who could have rendered Joyce's call essentially meaningless.
Congratulations baseball purists. You should be proud of yourselves!