Thursday, June 3, 2010

An addendum on Jim Joyce

Last night I wrote a post fueled by emotions (chiefly indignation), that lumped umpire Jim Joyce in with the likes of Angel Hernandez and Joe West. This was a mistake. Joyce made an honest mistake, and he has since apologized to Armando Galarraga:

"It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the [shit] out of it," said a tearful Joyce, "I just cost that kid a perfect game. And there's nobody that feels worse than I do."

Well, perhaps Galarraga does, but it's clear that Joyce is truly remorseful, that he understands the implications of the call he blew last night. Galarraga showed maturity way beyond his 28 years last night when he accepted Joyce's apology.

"Nobody's perfect," opined the young pitcher, without a trace of sarcasm or even a seeming awareness of the ironic nature of his statement.

As I type this, Bud Selig and Major League Baseball are discussing this situation. Technically, Selig has the power to rewrite history and reverse that call, awarding Galarraga the the perfect game he deserves. In this situation, I would support a decision to correct the past, but baseball is aware that such an action might start a tumble down a slippery slope. If this call can be overturned after the fact, what's next? Does Pedro Martinez get his perfect game for 27 consecutive outs, even though he gave up a hit in extra frames?

Hopefully this will jumpstart the discussion of expanded use of replay - with specific and stringent guidelines - so that future Armando Galarragas won't lose out on their place in history, and previously good umpires like Jim Joyce won't be vilified based on an honest mistake.

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