Armando Galarraga's Perfection Should Be Recognized
Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game against the Cleveland Indians; plain and simple. Galarraga sat down 27 batters in order, not allowing a single one to reach first base. It just so happens that first base umpire Jim Joyce called the 27th man safe when he was actually out.
So why does it look improbable that Galarraga will be recognized as the third pitcher this season to achieve perfection and baseball immortality? Because instant replay cannot be used in baseball to review this type of call. However, this rule is irrelevant in this case and Galarraga's perfect game should be considered an exception.
This wasn't a blown call in the middle of the game with more batters to face. This was the 27th out. It would be a different story if it was the 26th out because one could argue that changing a call in the middle of the game would change events occurring after the call. But, this was the last out.
So, the argument that changing this call would be unfair to the victims of all previous blown calls is not valid because this was the last out and truly an exception.
Changing this call wouldn't change anything for the game as a whole. The Tigers would have still shut out the Indians 3-0. It would only give Galarraga the recognition of being the 21st pitcher in baseball history to achieve perfection.
Not only would it be a disservice to Galarraga to not change this call, but it would be a disservice to baseball as well. The last decade has been littered with evidence of players, especially hitters, using performance-enhancing drugs and being accused of perjury on Capitol Hill.
Now, in 2010, the MLB could have three pitchers achieve perfection by June 3, breaking the record for most perfect games in a season with a month to go until the All-Star Game. Couple this with Ubaldo Jimenez's stellar 2010 performance thus far (10-1, 0.78 ERA), and this year could be seen as the revenge of the pitchers and evidence of baseball cleaning up its act.
The speculation that this call would result in baseball instituting more extensive use of instant replay to review calls is questionable because it did not change the fact that the Tigers won and the Indians lost. I'm not a big fan of using instant replay in baseball.
However, the bottom line is that umpire Jim Joyce blew a call on the 27th out of a perfect game, making the game exceptional and thus suitable for an exceptional use of instant replay causing a call reversal.
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