On June 2nd, 2010, Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game. The first in the Detroit Tiger's illustrious history.
This 28 year-old native Venezuelan didn't pitch a perfect game, though. At least not according to the record books.
Jim Joyce, the firstbase umpire that night, called the runner safe. On the last out, in the last inning, of what should have been a perfect game.
Joyce sorrowfully admitted he was wrong and has stated for all to see and hear: "I took a perfect game away from that kid!" Yes Joyce, you did, but I don't blame you. I blame Bud Selig.
You see, Jim Joyce is a man of class. He has been a great umpire for 21 years and like all humans do sometimes, he made an error. Unlike all humans, Joyce had the stones to admit he was wrong and publicly take what was coming to him.
That's admirable, and it shows the true character of this umpire. Besides, after the fact all Joyce could really do is admit he was wrong and apologize. He did his part to rectify this.
Then it was Bud Selig's turn...
Anyone familiar with baseball is not the least bit surprised at what Bud Selig has decided. This is a man that makes 15 million dollars a year to sit on his butt and pretend to care about the sport. No matter how much Galarraga deserved that perfect game, or how emphatically Jim Joyce admitted his error, Bud Selig was never going to do the right thing.
It's just not who he is. It's not what he stands for. It's not what he wants baseball to stand for.
And it's sad. It's stomach nauseating sleepless nights kind of sadness. It's exactly what baseball shouldn't stand for!
ESPN and other news organizations have done non-scientific polling to get a gauge on what the fans think. Time and again the polls I've seen show the vast majority (70%+) think this call should have been overturned. The fans think baseball should do what's right. I'm sorry to tell you, but Bud Selig doesn't listen all that well.
Some say there is no recourse for a bad call. That it would be unprecedented to overturn the call.
Unprecedented? In 1991, then- commissioner Fay Vincent convened a panel to look over previous no-hitters and decided to overturn 50 of them. Tell me it's unprecedented again, please, that's my favorite.
And as for there being no recourse... how about "the best interests of the game". It's within Bud Selig's ability to overturn this call, and major league baseball has seen Bud Selig wield his power like this before.
To quote him, "I have to use my judgment," he said. "The game would have been in a rain delay until weather conditions allowed us to continue. And that might have been 24 hours or 48 hours or who knows?" Referring to the Phillies vs Rays World Series game in 2008. For the best interests of the game Bud Selig would have stepped in!
Still, purists out there say that reversing Jim Joyce's call would violate the integrity of the game...
Really? The integrity of the game? It shows greater integrity to deny this kid his perfect game and taint baseball history forever? REALLY!?
I'm not sure what planet they're on, but when it comes to integrity, something tells me doing what's right tends to win out.
Trust me, I understand that the "human element" is something people want to see stay in baseball games. I like that umpires make the calls, and that if managers don't like it, they can argue (albeit at the risk of getting thrown out). I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention the joy I get when I see a homeplate umpire emphatically signal for strike three.
I love the human element of baseball!
But the human thing to do here would be to invoke "the best interests of the game" and give Galarraga his perfect game. Give this city what they've waited more than a century for. The human thing to do would be to right this wrong!
Bud Selig isn't human though. At least he doesn't appear to be. How he can look himself in the mirror in the morning after so terribly wronging Galarraga, the city of Detroit and fans of baseball everywhere is beyond me. It just isn't human to leave this blown call as is.
Reversing this call doesn't change the outcome of the game. It doesn't affect a pennant race or shift the tide in a World Series. It simply gives the kid who threw that game the respect and notoriety he deserves in the record books for years to come. Without a reversal, we stand to remember Jim Joyce and Bud Selig more than the amazing athlete who started the season in the minors.
It's not official what Bud Selig has decided to do, but many media reports have leaked that he will not reverse the call. If you can't stomach that, I suggest you sign your name here .
Bud Selig needs to listen to the fans, if not for Galarraga's sake then for the best interests of the game!