Thursday, June 3, 2010

The 26 Out Perfect Game

This year, it seems to me that umpires are routinely starting to miss more and more calls. Luckily, they have instant replay to review home runs and foul balls. However, it may be time for that to change.

Armando Galarraga is a starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who officially retired 26 in a row last night against Manny Acta's Cleveland Indians. With Jason Donald up to bat with 2 out in the 9th inning, he hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield, the ball was flipped back to Galarraga at 1st, and Jim Joyce, the first base ump, called him safe. Donald was obviously out by more than 1/2 a step. That would have been the 27th consecutive out for the perfect game. The 3rd this season. Galarraga didn't flip out, he just stood and stared at Joyce, as if to say "you know you're wrong."

Well, Joyce knew he was wrong. He said so later, admitting his mistake and that there was nothing he could do about it. Well it's time to do something about it. Major League Baseball needs to get with the times of the rest of professional sports and allow coach's/manager's challenges. The system is up for the league to decide, but maybe each manager gets 1 a game with no consequence if you're wrong. Maybe each manager gets 2 a game, and if your wrong your team is charged a strike or an out. But it should be available for any play on the field, except for balls and strikes. Balls and strikes are definitely subjective, and I have no problem if they stay that way. But check swings, like Lance Berkman's 2 nights ago against Matt Capps that cost the Nats the game, should be reviewable as well.

I am tired of people arguing that using technology to assist umpires will ruin the game. I'll tell you what ruins the game. When a 28 year old pitcher with a career 4.50 ERA gets the chance for a perfect game, and it is stolen away from him on a terrible ump call on the last out of the game. THAT ruins baseball, not technology that helps an ump get the call right to credit this kid with the 21st perfect game in history.

Bud Selig has the opportunity to overturn the call. Will he? Probably not. Should he? It's hard to know the right answer. But what he absolutely must do is allow instant replay in baseball. Not in the off-season. Starting right now. Whether that's at the All-Star break or even starting today. But you do it as soon as possible to prevent this from happening again to a kid who deserves the honor of being one of the few to get one of the highest honors a pitcher can have. 27 up. 27 down.

UPDATE 3 pm: Bud Selig said that he won't be changing the decision on Galarraga's game. As outraged as I am about the blown call, I like Selig's decision here. Just think about one thing before you get too upset. Would you still want it to be overturned this badly if Joyce had called him safe and he was clearly out to take away a perfect game? Just something to ponder.

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