Jim Joyce vs. Tony Hayward: Who Is the Most Hated Man in America?

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Jim Joyce vs. Tony Hayward: Who Is the Most Hated Man in America?

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward admitted that the global oil giant was unprepared to fight the recent catastrophic deep-water oil spill. Engineers today were forced yet again to reconfigure plans for executing their latest gambit to control the Gulf of Mexico gusher. Something like this would normally pave the way for Hayward to claim the title of "The Most Hated Man in America."

But then there was what happened last night.

Umpire Jim Joyce made what is possibly the most consequential blown call in the history of baseball during a Cleveland Indians-Detroit Tigers game.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Indians shortstop Jason Donald hit a ground ball to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Armando Galarraga, on the verge of pitching a perfect game, received Cabrera's throw, which clearly beat Donald to the bag. But Joyce, a veteran of two World Series, emphatically signaled "safe."

Galarraga only smiled at the umpire (while the home crowd and Tigers manager Jim Leyland expressed very different emotions) before retiring Trevor Crowe for the final out of what went down as a one-hit shutout and a 3-0 Detroit victory. Others are calling it "the first 28-out perfect game in history."

Joyce knows he ruled the play incorrectly; he openly admitted it after the game and approached Galaragga himself to offer a much-needed apology. As well-respected an umpire as he is, Joyce still flubbed the biggest play in his career.

Major League Baseball umpires this season have already been under significant scrutiny after blowing calls more frequently and becoming involved in controversial confrontations with players and managers.

Often (in the case of disputed home run calls and non-calls) these officials have been able to redeem themselves through the use of instant replay. Joyce's mishap has many arguing that these technological resources should be used here as well.

Should Bud Selig take a stand and bring in a video tape? There is no question he has seen what everyone else has seen. The issue lies in whether he will do something to amend for this terrible blunder. 

For now, though, Joyce, like Hayward, is still the one subject to criticism. Insufficient catastrophe control or hindering history—which is the bigger crime?  You be the judge.

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