The Dawg House

     As I would speculate everyone knows by now, one of the most controversial baseball calls occurred last night in the Detroit Tigers game against the Cleveland Indians. On the mound for the Tigers was Armando Galarraga, a 28 year old right hander from Venezuela, a man who's had an up-and-down career. Galarraga looked like a quality starter in 2008, going 13-7 with 126 strikeouts and a 3.73 ERA. However, that had been the highlight of his career, as he has struggled since. The Tigers called Galarraga up from Toledo on May 16th, and prior to last night he had went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Galaragga was going up against the Indians, a team tied for the second-worst record in baseball. Little did he know that this would be a game he could never forget no matter how hard he tried.

   Galarraga dominated the game, making it to the 9th inning with a perfect game still intact. Things didn't look good for the perfecto to start the 9th, as Mark Grudzielanek hit one out in deep center that looked like a tough play for CF Austin Jackson. However, he made the play, leaving only two outs left in the game. Mike Redmond then grounded out to the shortstop, leaving only one out before the Perfect Game was complete. Indians SS Jason Donald was up to bat, and with a 1-1 count Donald hit a ball over to first. First baseman Miguel Cabrera stopped the ball and threw it to Galarraga covering the base. Game Over. Perfect Game. Except First Base Umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe. As you can see below, it was a terrible call. Galarraga then got Trevor Crowe to ground out to third to end the game.    IMG_2399.JPG

   This is definitely the worst way to lose the Perfect Game. How Jim Joyce made the call I don't understand. Did he think Galarraga bobble the ball? If he did, he was mistaken. In however he thought Donald was safe, he was mistaken. I'm not writing this blog to slam Jim Joyce. Blown calls are part of the game, and everyone just has to deal with it, but come on man!!!! You had to know that this was a perfect game on the line! To be honest, if I was in Joyce's shoes with a perfect game on the line, I wouldn't have even had to look at the play before I called the runner out. Heck, I would probably called a HR in the 9th with 2 outs an out just because of how sacred it is. Galarraga's perfect game would have been the third perfect game this year, and the 2nd in 5 days.   

 I have to applaud Armando for the way he handled the tough situation. How many people would have just stood there and smiled while the biggest moment of your career was taken away by a ridiculous call? Sure, we all could imagine what he was thinking, but he kept calm and just went back and finished the job. I would say that most other pitchers would have argued with Joyce for about an hour over this one. Some would have probably thrown him to the ground, and I don't think anyone would have blamed them for doing so. It's all about how sacred the perfect game is to pitchers, and there's probably nothing a pitcher hates worse than when an umpire, not themselves, determines how the game plays out. 

 Many sports analysts are calling for Major League Baseball to step in and change this game to a no hitter. Honestly, I think changing the call doesn't make a difference. Yes Galarraga deserves it, but so what if you give him the perfect game now? There's no moment of ecstasy we all see when the final out is recorded. There's no huge celebration out at the pitching mound, no fireworks, nothing. Just a change in a newspaper or stat book. If the ruling was going to be changed, it should have happened last night. The other umpires should have stepped in, talked it over, looked at replay (oh yes, I said it), and changed the call. If this would have happened, Jim Joyce wouldn't have to worry about death threats, as I'm sure there will be some from some fans with nothing better to do with their time.

  Baseball purists say that replay would just make the game drag on even longer. That's one of the biggest lies I've ever heard. How often would replay have to be used? I would guess one time in maybe 15 games, and when I'm talking about using replay, I'm talking about on game changing plays, not arguing balls and strikes. Umpires are not going to get every call right, plain and simple, so why not let there be an option where something can be checked to see if the call is right or not? Eventually it will happen. I just hope it does before either Armando Galarraga pitches again or Jim Joyce calls another game.


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