The Cinch Review

Nobody’s perfect: Jim Joyce and the blown call

So the Commissioner of Baseball has announced his decision, just a little while ago:

Commissioner Bud Selig will not reverse call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

Selig says Major League Baseball will look at expanded replay and umpiring, but not the botched call Wednesday night.

Umpire Jim Joyce says he made a mistake on what would’ve been the final out in Detroit, where the Tigers beat Cleveland 3-0. The umpire personally apologized to Galarraga.

For myself, I think that Bud Selig’s call is exactly the wrong one. Sure: a fiasco like this could add momentum to the push for “expanded replays” in baseball, and I can only presume that this serves Selig’s preferences. (He’s probably sick of being bothered about blown calls generally.) But this was a situation where he should have used his discretion to deliver justice, simply in the name of giving Armando Galarraga the perfect game he deserves to have on his record, and also in the name of showing mercy to umpire Jim Joyce, who by all accounts is distraught over this and cannot but wear his blown call as a millstone around his neck for the rest of his life. Two human beings could badly use a little lift, a little kindness today, and this was a perfect situation in which to show some. It would have been the final out. But for that single call, the game would have been over. With one correction Selig could have cleaned the situation and the record up. How often does such a thing happen, after all? Selig cannot argue that correcting this decision in this instance would open the floodgates to all those other nearly perfect games that ended with a blown call on what would’ve been the final out.


I’m against expanded replays in baseball, of-course, so I have my own vested interest here too. I don’t want to see this incident lead to more game stoppages so that umpires can go off and look at instant replays. Baseball games need to be shorter than they are these days, not longer. And hard cases make bad law.