Unless you live under a rock, you must have heard about the blown perfect game by umpire Jim Joyce. Let me recap for those of you who traveled to the Moon or something. Armando Galaraga, a pitcher for the Tigers, threw a perfect game. Well almost. With two outs, a ground ball is hit, the first basemen fields it and tosses to Galaraga coming over to cover first. Joyce calls the runner safe, but replay shows that Galaraga clearly beats the runner. After the game, Joyce apologized to Galaraga for blowing the call.
Interesting fact, I was actually watching this game. Actually I was watching the Cardinals/Reds game, but every inning that Galaraga was pitching ESPN would switch over. So I got to watch him pitch the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. I have never seen a no-hitter/perfect game live. I have always caught the highlights later. Needless to say, when Austin Jackson makes the catch for the first out in the ninth inning, I was clapping.
When the infamous play happened, I got sick to my stomach. He looked out as soon as I saw it. Twitter immediately exploded with people being angry and saying how Joyce should be fired. The next day I started hearing discussions on the various sports radio shows about Bud Selig maybe overturning the call and awarding Galaraga a perfect game. Since then, I have been trying to find a way to describe how I feel about the whole situation. Fortunately fangraphs did a much better job and I will just link to them.
The worst part about this whole debate is the slippery-slope argument. If they overturn this call, then they have to overturn the ’85 World Series and then they have to overturn, blah blah blah. Look, if Selig were to overturn it (he said he will not) then he could stipulate, if this situation ever happens again, then we have set a precedent. And by this situation, I mean a perfect game getting blown in the 9th inning on the final out with the umpire admitting he made the wrong call. Can you fathom the odds of that ever happening again?
Imagine this, it is September 30, 1972. Roberto Clemente hits a ball to the first basemen. He clearly beats the Mets pitcher, Jon Matlack, to first. The umpire calls him out. After the game, the umpire apologizes to Clemente for costing him his 3000th hit. They joke about getting it next year (maybe the ump will call him safe if he is out, haha). Then Clemente dies in a plane crash. Do you think the commissioner at the time would have overturned the call? Remember, when Clemente died, they waived the Hall of Fame waiting period (I realize that is a different governing body).
Personally, I think they should award Galaraga a perfect game. But, if they do not give it to him, then he will go down in history as the guy who pitched one and did not get credit for it. In fact, as James pointed out, can you name any of the perfect games aside from the ones this year? Harvey Haddix came to mind, but his is not considered official since he did not win the game. Actually, it is a funny story (from wikipedia):
On May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched what is often referred to as the greatest game in baseball history. Haddix carried a perfect game through an unprecedented 12 innings against the Milwaukee Braves, only to have it ruined when an error by third baseman Don Hoak allowed Felix Mantilla, the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 13th inning, to reach base. A sacrifice by Eddie Matthews and an intentional walk to Hank Aaron followed; the next batter, Joe Adcock, hit a home run that became a double when he passed Aaron on the bases. Haddix and the Pirates had lost the game 1–0; despite their 12 hits in the game, they could not bring a run home. The 12 perfect innings—36 consecutive batters retired in a single game—remains a record.
How the hell does someone get passed on the bases?