Tiger’s pitcher Armando Galarraga had a perfect game (no hits, no walks, no errors) going into the ninth inning last night. He got his second out with only one to go when Indian’s Jason Donald was up to bat. Donald hit the ball to the infield and with Galarraga running to cover first base, made the final out to record only the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball.
One small problem: veteran umpire Jim Joyce called Donald Safe. The game continued and the next batter was the last out.
The perfect game was destroyed.
Jim Joyce knew immediately after the game that he had screwed up and screwed up big. He reportedly asked to speak to Armando Galarraga and wept openly as he apologized to the pitcher for ruining his historic performance. Galarraga graciously accepted the apology.
I feel sorry for Armando Galarraga. He did what every pitcher tries to do, but few rarely do: he got each hitter he faced out. I also feel sorry for Jim Joyce. He screwed up, he can’t fix it, and everyone knows about it.
Some were calling for Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig to overturn the call and announce that Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game. It’s been announced that Selig will not do that and even though I hate to admit it, Selig is probably making the right call.
Bad calls are part of baseball. Sometimes they don’t make much of a difference. Sometimes, they make a massive difference.