Armando Galarraga has been robbed of the 21st perfect game in baseball history.
This isn’t hyperbole or melodrama. I honest to God don’t know any other way to phrase it. If you haven’t seen the play, you can view it here .
But this is no ordinary 3-0 game.
Armando Galarraga has retired 26 straight Indians. All that stands between him and the third perfect game of the year is Jason Donald. And, with a one and one count, the shortstop grounds to Miguel Cabrera. A simple flip to a covering Galarraga beats the runner by at least a step, if not more.
First Base Umpire Jim Joyce cares not about this. Donald is ruled safe on an infield single. The next batter grounds out, this time ruled an out. But it doesn’t matter; that lone blemish stands.
This event is really, truly, completely inexcusable.
If you skipped the video link, go watch it. This isn’t something that can be misinterpreted. Galarraga’s foot is clearly on the base.
The announcers are baffled, as the replay clearly shows this from multiple angles.
I feel I need to write my feelings on the subject. This call is a Don Denkinger—level error in officiating (and this, coming from a Cardinals fan—I feel so strongly about this that I am skipping the game on ESPN to write this, at the moment). I have always been in favor of instant replay, and hope this event leads to wide—scale implementation.
As far as I can see, there is no reason to NOT use instant replay. Those against it have said it would slow down the game. But stop and think for a minute; how long did it take the announcers to verify Joyce’s call? From two angles, even? Compare that to the on-field actions: in the time it took the announcers to run multiple camera angles, Jim Leyland had just gone out to argue. That’s it. No actual arguing, he just made it to the umpire TO argue. The actual arguing itself would take longer.
Besides, most of the plays in baseball are rather straightforward: fair or foul? Clear the fence on a fly or a bounce? Did the runner reach the bag first, or the pitcher? A centralized replay booth (similar to the one used in the NHL) could run the replays as smoothly as a TV booth, meaning minimal slow-down. It would even lead to more umpire jobs, as the booth will need people working it.
The only other argument against replay that I’ve seen is the “removal of the human element”. I must say, I am utterly baffled by this reasoning.
What human element? The players are both playing each other, and they are both humans pushing themselves to their limits. The umpire could still be on the field, making calls, with the “Replay Room” serving as a last—defense fail—safe.
And even then, why would you want a officiating system that is filled with human error? Isn’t this the very issue that led to things like bribery of judges, not only in baseball, but even as recently as the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics? I can’t say I know anyone who is a fan of a sport like figure skating or diving or what—have—you BECAUSE of the inconsistencies and opinions of those deciding the winner.
In any case, other sports (like football or hockey) don’t seem to mind losing this “human element” in exchange for more accurate calls. Why? Because they realize that the officiating body is not supposed to be the deciding factor in a competition between two teams giving their all. THAT is the “human element” that is generally thought of as “sports."
In any case, the umpires are human, too. They do have emotions. From ESPN :
"I just cost that kid a perfect game," Joyce said. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay."
Joyce even realized his mistake...with the help of replays.
All I’m saying is that MLB needs to provide their umps with the ability to check themselves, and it’s a shame it might take something this big to bring MLB to its senses.
In short, MLB needs instant replay, and congratulations to Armando Galarraga on the 21st perfect game in MLB history.
Hopefully, he will become the answer to the trivia questions, “Who is the first pitcher to get 28 outs in a perfect game?” as well as “Who is the first pitcher to retroactively pitch a perfect game?”