I turned on the Detroit/Cleveland game last night in the 7th inning, and watched as Armando Galarraga set down batter after batter. 26 batters in and he was one out from perfection and baseball immortality.
Jason Donald's ground ball took Miguel Cabrera far from the bag, but Galarraga was there covering and received the ball cleanly, and clearly a step ahead of the runner. First base umpire Jim Joyce's first move was to call the runner out, but he seemed to change his mind mid-call and all of a sudden Donald was SAFE.
It's going to become one of the most talked-about, replayed calls in baseball history (you can see the actual call HERE.)
Joyce blew the call, everyone in the stadium knew it, everyone watching on TV knew it, Jason Donald KNEW it. Unfortunately, in that instance, the one person who needed to know it the most got it wrong.
Armando Galarraga, a more improbable pitcher you couldn't pick, just recalled from AAA, somehow, some way recovered and got the next batter out without issue. He finished his first complete game, his first shutout, and SHOULD have the 21st perfect game in MLB history. Instead, he has the first 28 batter perfect game, which may ultimately, be far more famous and remembered than any other pitching outing in history.
Showing incredible class and poise, after the game the sanguine Galarraga addressed reporters and later, Jim Joyce himself who came to the pitcher after seeing a replay to apologize for his mistake. I respect that. By all accounts, Joyce is an excellent umpire, but in this instance he got the call wrong and it was a monumental call, a historic moment destroyed.
Lost amid this is that for the first time EVER baseball has had 3 perfect games in one season. In the entire 1990s there were 4 perfectos, not even 3 full months into the season, the 2010s are already on their way to beating that number.
As you can imagine, there are many many reactions to all of this, with a large number of people, media members, players and managers included, who have called on MLB and Bud Selig to fix the mistake. I'd doubt that he does, since Bud always chooses the easy thing over the right thing.
Meanwhile, Michigan's governor, Jennifer Granholm, issued a proclamation (via Twitter) declaring Galarraga to have thrown a perfect game, so, at least he has that!
- Jim Joyce himself talking with a Detroit-area radio station
- Jimmy Joyce, the ump's son defending his dad on Facebook
- Joe Girardi says it should be changed
- Troy from West Virginia and his daughters watching it live