MLB’s Robbery Of Perfection: The Jim Joyce Admitted Screw-Up
Have you ever achieved complete perfection at something? How about being so close at achieving it to have it falsely taken away from you? I was watching a baseball game because, well there was nothing else to watch. I’m not a very big baseball fan, but I was very interested in what was happening. Detroit Tigers pitcher, Venezuelan-born Armando Galarraga, was three batters away from achieving a perfect game. Doing so would have made it the third perfect game of this MLB season and the first time that happens in MLB history. (There hasn’t been a two-perfect game season before this one since 1880!)
Galarraga was now one out away from reaching perfection. As the batter chopped the ball to the first base line and Miguel Cabrera handled it and tossed it over to Galarraga who ran to make the play at first base, and getting the runner out, umpire Jim Joyce called the runner safe… he missed that call by a mile. What makes this even sadder in my opinion, was the incredible amount of dignity, class, and character from both Galarraga and Joyce displayed from the instant the call was nothing short of remarkable. Galarraga simply showed his boyish smile ear to ear as if he were playing stick ball with friends in the park without making a single fuss. He then marched back over to the mound, and got the next batter out instantaneously.
After the game, Joyce immediately admitted that his call was a mistake and he wishes he could take it back. Galarraga’s response was that it is part of the game, Joyce is human, and holds no hard feelings towards Joyce. Joyce, by the way, is a 20-year veteran umpire and one of the most respected in the game. During today’s day game, Galarraga presented Joyce (who worked behind Home Plate today) with the roster card. The scene was so moving, it caused Joyce to become very emotional and tear up.
MLB is the only mainstream sport left that does not implement Instant Replays to help against these very situations; human error, challenged calls, and most importantly, being robbed from making history. Commissioner Bud Selig has come out and said that what occurred, though unfortunate, is part of the “human factor” of the game and has no intention of reversing the call and granting Galarraga his perfect game and thus vindicating Joyce.
I saw this play happen live, I could have made that call. I’m not saying Joyce screwed up because he already admitted that himself. All I’m saying is that this game will go down in the history books as the Perfect Game that never was. I hope that one day, Galarraga will achieve the perfect game he came so close to getting.