In the span of 24 hours, Jim Joyce went from public enemy number one in Detroit, to a tragic figure whose only fault was being human. The whole situation showed the power of one player’s grace and convinced the country that goodwill still exists in the heart of man and that world peace is still within our grasp. Armando Galarraga may have forgiven Jim Joyce, but did America let the now infamous umpire get off too easy?
There are few words (abominable, appalling, atrocious?) to describe how inexplicably bad Jim Joyce’s call was on Jason Donald’s now infamous “single”. It wasn’t a judgment call and it wasn’t a bang-bang play–it was as clear as Pam’s face after her Proactive regimen. For an umpire who was recently voted by players as the game’s best, Joyce’s decision to call Donald safe and cost Galarraga a shot at history is inexcusable. The fact that he was too proud or too ignorant to consult with the rest of the umpiring crew to discuss whether the correct call was made is ever more damning.
But, but, Joyce apologized didn’t he? Shouldn’t we forgive someone who was so broken up about making a mistake that they teared up and didn’t even have the strength to take a post-game shower?
We can forgive Jim Joyce the human, but not Jim Joyce the umpire. Did he really have any choice but to apologize after watching a replay of his blunder? I’m not saying that Joyce wasn’t genuinely sorry, but his mea culpa was as much to save face as it was to convey his regret to Galarraga. While sorry may occasionally resolve a problem or right a wrong, Joyce’s empty apology didn’t give Galarraga the perfect game he had worked so hard to earn.
In the entire history of baseball there have only been 20 perfect games–and Armando Galarraga was one out away from joining one of the sport’s most exclusive fraternities (though not quite as exclusive as The Skulls). Galarraga is an average major league pitcher (4.49 career ERA) who on one special day had everything going his way, including a spectacular catch from center fielder Austin Jackson in the 9th that seemingly was the Indians’ last shot.
But, instead of the players deciding the game’s final outcome, it was umpire Jim Joyce who ended Galarraga’s bid for perfection.
And for that, I can never forgive him…
Filed under: AL Central, Baseball | Tagged: armando galarraga, austin jackson, Cleveland Indians, dallas braden, detroit tigers, instant replay, jason donald, jenna fischer, jim joyce, one-hitter, perfect game, proactive, Roy Halladay |