By now most of you have heard what happened in last night's Tiger-Indian game: Armando Galarraga retired 26 batters consecutively, throwing a perfect game into the ninth inning with two outs. The twenty-seventh batter, Jason Donald, grounded out to first, but Jim Joyce made an incorrect call and ruled Donald safe. The perfect game, as well as the no-hitter, was broken. After the game, Joyce admitted that he made the wrong call.
In normal circumstances, the MLB would simply let something like this stand; human error is part of the game, after all. However, in this extreme case and with this blatant of a blown call, here are some reasons why Major League Baseball must decide to give Galarraga a perfect game and overturn the on-field call:
1. He Earned It/The Missed Call Was Blatant
Possibly the simplest reason of all, Galarraga, if the play was called correctly, would have thrown a perfect game. The fact that the call was missed is one thing; bang-bang plays are commonly missed, but those are borderline cases where the correct call is only obtained through slow-motion replays and repeated viewings. Mr. Joyce, quite simply, blew the call. It was not close. There is no excuse for Joyce to have missed the call, which leads me to point number two.
2. The Legacy of Jim Joyce
Every account that I have heard is that Umpire Joyce is one of the best in the business. He is respected and has given decades to the game. Yet if Galarraga is deprived of his perfect game, Joyce will be forever remembered as the umpire that blew the call. Don Denkinger, another Major League umpire, is an example of this. Despite his career, Mr. Denkinger is only remembered for the call he missed in the 1985 Cardinals-Royals World Series. Joyce is destined to have the same fate if his call isn't overturned.
3. The Perception of Major League Baseball
Today, many people see the MLB as unmoving and behind the time. The fact that instant replay, which many have called for, is still not implemented exacerbates the problem. If the MLB doesn't get the perfect game correct, the entire incident may be perceived as the epitome as an uncaring sport that refuses to do the right thing.
4. Big Upside, No Downside
Should the MLB give Galarraga his perfect game, they would prove that they care and are on top of the game. Not only this, but they would get the call right and most likely receive a large amount of good press. There would be hardly any downside to getting the game right. If the MLB does not overturn the call, people would continue to lambaste the league.
5. The Pine Tar Game
Major League Baseball has reversed calls after the fact; the infamous Pine Tar Game is one example. George Brett, who hit a home run against the Yankees in 1983, was ruled out because it was determined that he had too much pin tar on his bat. Yet the MLB reviewed the decision, reversed it, and awarded Brett the home run he deserved.
6. It Would Have Been the Last Out of the Game
If Jason Donald was ruled out, the game would have been over. Thus, if the MLB goes back and reverses the call, there would be no more of the game left to play. The point is, there would be no possible different outcomes; the blown call didn't happen in the sixth or seventh where the game's outcome could be completely altered. Donald was the last out.
The fact of the matter is that the MLB has to step up here and get the game and history right. From the press, to legacies, to perception itself, Major League Baseball must give Armando Galarraga the perfect game he rightfully deserves.
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