Jim Joyce and the Most Hated Officials Ever
In sports, officials are at their best when nobody knows their names and the games, not the officials, are the ones making headlines.
Well, Major League Baseball umpire Jim Joyce turned that lesson on its head last night when he made, arguably, the most damaging call in baseball history.
Joyce's call was so egregious that baseball fans around the country immediately called for his head. One bad call in an otherwise strong career will now shape the rest of his career and possibly his life.
Unfortunately for Joyce, he now joins the annals of some of the most hated officials in sports history.
Joe West goes by the nickname "Cowboy," and in recent years he's backed up that nickname with his unorthodox behavior when it comes to baseball umpires.
In recent years, West has made too many headlines for statements about the quality of teams' play, most notably calling the length of Yankees-Red Sox games "pathetic."
Questionable ejections and over the top showmanship have drawn the ire of managers, players, and fans alike, who prefer their umpires to be seen and unheard.
West has been the complete opposite of that as of late, going as far as to be publicly chastised by the commissioner's office.
Jim Joyce has twice in his career been voted the highest rated umpire in baseball.
That all changed in one fell swoop last night when his horridly blown call cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game and the sport its 21st perfect game in history.
Few likely knew Joyce's name before last night, but that is officially over. Joyce is now one of the biggest goats in baseball history and will likely be unwelcome in every ballpark for the foreseeable future.
It isn't just Tigers fans who are pissed off. Joyce is getting the venom of baseball fans around the country.
Joey Crawford has served as an NBA referee for 33 seasons, but with one weird, vengeful ejection, Crawford created a very negative stigma for himself.
On April 15, 2007, Crawford had had enough of Tim Duncan's grinning and laughing on the bench and thus ejected the Spurs' star for having some fun on the bench.
Duncan alleged that Crawford challenged him to a fight, which may have prompted Duncan's reaction. Either way, Duncan was tossed, and Crawford was suspended for the rest of the 2007 season.
Crawford drew the ire of Spurs fans the following season when he missed a critical (and obvious) foul by Derek Fisher on the Spurs' Brent Barry in the closing the seconds of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals.
The Lakers benefited from the call, won Game Four, and went on to win the series in five games.
Before Jim Joyce, there was Don Denkinger. Denkinger famously missed a play at first base in Game Six of the 1985 World Series (pictured).
A chain reaction set off a bases-loaded situation, which Dane Iorg took advantage of with a go-ahead two-run single.
The Royals took advantage to take the game and even the series 3-3 after the Cardinals took three of the first four games. The Royals won Game Six 2-1 and then won Game Seven 11-0. Cardinals fans have never forgiven Denkinger.
Ed Hochuli is very well known for possessing the biggest pipes of any official, but he became the most hated man in San Diego for one blown call early in the 2008 season.
Hochuli ruled a fumble by Jay Cutler as an incompletion and thus denied San Diego of what would have been a game-winning takeaway. The play was not reviewable under the NFL's replay rules, but Hochuli instantly knew he blew the call.
The game went down as the "Mile High Hijacking" in San Diego.
Dick Bavetta is one of the most experienced officials in the NBA. However, he has come under serious fire for his allegedly sketchy actions during Game Six of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Kings.
Disgraced NBA official Tim Donaghy stated during his confessions to the FBI that another official had ulterior motives in that game. Bavetta is still being investigated by the FBI.
No official in recent memory has been as disgraced and shamed as Donaghy. The former NBA official admitted to fixing and betting on games, resulting in 15 months in prison.
Even after his release, Donaghy continues to be a thorn in the collective side of the NBA by alleging that game-fixing and gambling by officials continues to this day.
Rich Garcia was the umpire at the center of the Jeffrey Maier incident in Game One of the 1996 American League Championship Series.
Garcia ruled Derek Jeter's fly ball, which Maier reached over the wall and took away from Tony Tarasco, a home run and thus changed the course of Game One and arguably the series.
1972 Olympic Basketball Officials
The officials at the 1972 Olympic basketball final put time back on the clock not once, but twice, providing the USSR the opportunity to take the game and hand USA its first Olympic basketball loss in history.
Game Five of the 1997 National League Championship Series became known as the Eric Gregg Game.
Gregg's absurdly wide strike zone led to 15 strikeouts for Livan Hernandez and handed the Marlins a crucial victory and a 3-2 series lead.
The Marlins went on to win the series in six games.