Thursday, June 03, 2010

Perfect SHAME

Welcoming myself back to this blog. I'd say that I've been 'busy', but who hasn't? Granted that a company merger is leading to LONG hours, and my weekends are spent from soccer fields, to rushed (often unhealthy) lunches, to T-ball games, etc. I have no good excuse - most of us have the same type lives.

However, last night's Detroit Tigers game has to go down as an utter shame. Armando Galarraga's perfect game.... Well, it was still perfect. Kind of. Without rehashing the game (who hasn't read about it or seen the highlights?) - Jim Joyce blew it. He made a call that was maybe, almost close with two outs in the ninth to break up a perfect game. A PERFECT GAME. The irony of it being that Galarraga himself covered first base and caught the ball, beating the runner by about a foot and a half - but the play was called safe. Who didn't say out loud 'Wait, wait?' upon seeing in? Unreal. And the call was so confident and assertive - which I understand is part of the job. But come on - it almost felt like he made up his mind before the play that anything close was safe.

I give Jim Joyce full credit for fessing up right away. But I still question the mentality of an umpire to make a call so assertively.

Putting myself in his shoes (which I did many times last night before falling asleep), I kept coming to the conclusion that anything close has to be called an out. It just seems like human nature. Admittedly that 'conclusion' of mine is flawed. As an official of any sport, your job is to remain neutral and have no emotional attachment to the game. I wonder how possible that is though. I could never umpire a Yankees/Sox game, referee a Lakers/Celtics game, or Pats/Jets game. As much as I would like to think that if it was my job I could remain neutral in that role, any close plays aren't going to be hard calls to make. Am I right?

Regardless... there was a perfect game pitched last night. Everyone involved was graceful in handling an obviously imperfect ending. But the history books will only be marked with a perfect SHAME. And we can only wonder why.

1 comment:

Jim Storer said...

I've been thinking the same thing for the last 24 hours, thanks for writing it down.

Here's the rub... Joyce needs to stay detached to an extent, but he still must LOVE the game. He's been an umpire since 1989... you can't do something for that long and not love it. He's not becoming unbiased if he's rooting for the game and not an individual team. It was a perfect game on the line, not a game between Cleveland and Detroit.

The only explanation I can come up with is Joyce lost track of the situation. He must have... because the ONLY call in that situation is an emphatic "OUT", unless the play's not even close.