High drama in Detroit for the second straight day thanks to an unusual act of contrition last night by umpire Jim Joyce and a preternatural show of class from Galarraga, who said of the blown call after the game (with pinpoint irony), “Nobody’s perfect.” Debbie Stabenow, who evidently has nothing better to do with her time, issued a statement this morning calling on MLB to reverse Joyce’s call and award Galarraga a perfect game. Bud Selig was considering it, but just as I’m writing this, news is breaking that he’s decided against it. Reversal after-the-fact is a precedent they’re understandably reluctant to set, and truth be told, it wouldn’t matter at this point. Everyone in the world, Joyce included, knows that Galarraga pitched a perfect game. Like Harvey Haddix and Ernie Shore, his place in history is secure.
But that’s not to say we shouldn’t have instant replay. I’m seeing arguments today that blowing the call was, in a way, actually better than getting it right since it created a more memorable moment than the perfect game would have been. To which I say: Tell it to Cardinals fans who are still smarting over Don Denkinger’s blown call in the 1985 World Series. The rule says that if the ball beats the batter to first base, he’s out; that’s what happened last night, yet the rule wasn’t enforced — although it could have been, in about five seconds, if the umps were simply allowed to look at the Jumbotron. If, in the name of baseball romance and magic and whimsy, you want terrible calls to be “part of the game,” then Selig should pull the umps aside and tell them to boot one every now and then just to keep things interesting. If, on the other hand, you don’t want players deprived of hard-earned achievements due to human error that can easily be corrected via technology we’ve had for decades, then replay it is. Count me in the latter camp.
For some reason, I can’t get the embedded video below to play. In case you’re having the same problem, you can watch by clicking here.