"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Game the Umpires Didn’t Blow

With the messy explosion of baseball news last night – from Griffey’s retirement to Galarraga’s excruciating blown perfect game – it was a little hard for me to get my head into the Yankees’ 9-1 all expenses included Royal Caribbean cruise of a win over the Orioles (if memory serves, already the 123rd Yanks-O’s game of the season). Not that I’m complaining: watching the New York hitters tee off while Phil Hughes figures it all out is hardly the worst way you could spend a summer night, and you need to store up games like this one to keep yourself warm during the long cold winter.

I saw the Yankees’ lineup yesterday afternoon and thought: now that’s more like it. No Marcus Thames,  Randy Winn, Juan Miranda or Ramiro Pena; the Yankee outfield once again consists of Swisher, Granderson, and Gardner, as God and Brian Cashman intended, and Jorge Posada made it back from the DL faster than he goes from first to third (even if he’s only cleared to DH for now). But it was Robinson Cano, who’s been here all long, who led the way again, hitting early and often: his single in the second began a four-run rally that set the tone for the rest of the game, though ensuing doubles from Granderson, Gardner, and Swisher [contented sigh] did not hurt either. Cano homered in the seventh, too, with the Yankees in tack-on mode, his 12th of the year – and not surprisingly, he’s got more longballs against the O’s than any other team. Granderson, Swisher, and A-Rod all had themselves big games too, and Posada, so far, is moving better than an aging catcher with a fractured foot has any right to move.

Meanwhile, back on the mound, Phil Hughes looked comfortably in charge. After the game, he told reporters that he realized early on that his cutter wasn’t cutting it, and mostly stayed away from it thereafter – the kind of on-the-fly adjustment that, coming from a young developing pitcher like Hughes or, across town, Mike Pelfrey, warms my cold shriveled heart. His only notable stumble came in the sixth, when Ty Wigginton — the Oriole’s best hitter to date, which says quite a bit about the 2010 Orioles — singled in Miguel “Ty Wigginton is hitting how much better than me?” Tejada. (Perhaps in a misguided effort to overcompensate, Tejada would go on to get thrown out at home plate with his team down 8-1 in the eighth inning).

Chad Gaudin pitched the last two innings, allowing a few hits but no runs and lowering his ERA to… uh, 7.43, but hey, it’s a start. Have a good day, Banterers, and if you can’t manage that, at least be glad that you’re not Jim Joyce right now.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Emma Span

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1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:21 am

"...Jorge Posada made it back from the DL faster than he goes from first to third."

Brilliant. And every game recap contains something similarly inspired.

2 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:23 am

Keith Olbermann is currently being interviewed on MSNBC.
He believes the call may be overturned, and that the commsioner's office is currently discussing this issue. While they are not exactly the same situation, he mentioned in the past, the Commsioner has reversed a number of calls and the eventual outcome of the game.

One we all know was Bret's 'Pine Tar' non-HR call, eventually overturned. Another was a game that was called a 'Perfect Game', that was then overturned EIGHTY YEARS later, and deemed NOT a perfect game.

Actually, I'm betting the call is overturned and will be a Perfect Game.

Keith Olbermann knows his baseball!

3 rbj   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:24 am

Prediction: new phrase in sports lexicon whenever an ump/ref egregiously blows a call -- "he really JimJoyced that".

4 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:28 am

[2] I'd be shocked if they overturned the call. There is no basis or precedent that I know of for overturning a pure judgment call. The Pine Tar Game was a spirit of the rule issue, not a reversal of a judgment call. I am not sure of the details of the other game he mentioned, but it sounds like it was an 8-inning perfect game that was removed from the record books (again, not a reversal of a judgment call).

If you overturn this call, then why not others? Last night, Dale Scott blew a call that would have been the final out of the10th inning in the Twins-Mariners again. Instead of correctly rulling out, Scott said safe, which allowed the winning run to score. Is the outcome of a game not as important as a personal achievement? Should that call be overturned?

I am sure there will be lots of pressure to remedy last night's mistake, or institute instant expanded replay going foward, but Selig needs to keep his backbone.

5 Dimelo   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:34 am

[2] I don't think the call should be overturned, IMHO.

Here's why:
It was a blown call, it happens, that's a part of the game. No different than when the weather effects the outcome of a game, or midges, or how balls are determined fair/foul at Tropicana Field because the ball hits some pipe or railing at the top of the dome. These are things we'll just have to deal with. Life isn't perfect, it makes you appreciate a perfect game even more the next time you see one.

It's not only the pitcher that has to pitch a perfect game, it's the defense, the umpiring, the weather, etc. All those things have an influence in the outcome. If the pitcher strikes out 27 guys, then that's a perfect game where only the pitcher, home plate umpire, and catcher had an influence on.

A perfect game is just that, everything went perfect. In this case, unfortunately, everything didn't go perfect.

And, eff replay.

I feel bad for everyone involved, but we have to remove emotions out of this. You can't reverse this based on an erroneous call.

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:40 am

[4] Selig's backbone would surely remain intact if he overturned the call. Why would he require precedent to do the right thing, and return to Galarraga what was, by all accounts, erroneously taken from him: his rightful place in baseball history?
It would also let poor Jim Joyce off the hook, making it a rare win-win decision.
Who wouldn't applaud that, and why? How would the so-called sanctitiy of the game be marred or threatened by Selig stepping in under these most unusual circumstances?

7 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:45 am

[6] How is it the right thing? Isn't following the rules the right thing? Baseball honors the umpire's judgment. If he overturns this call, where do you stop? How is it the right thing to give Galaragga his perfect game, but deny the Twins a replay of last night's game?

Also, what if there was a favorable call in last night's game? Would that make it imperfect again? What about past perfect games? Should we inspect them for blown calls?

Selective justice isn't fair at all.

8 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:45 am

[5] I'm with you 100% on this game. But I could probably accept replay in some form. They already broke the cherry w/ the home run replay, so whatever.

In the case of tennis replay, it is awesome. Fast, accurate, and totally improves the game. In the case of football replay, it's annoying, confusing at times, takes forever, and often returns less than satisfying results. So all in the execution.

9 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:47 am

[7] Well said, William. Overturning a call on the bases cannot be considered the "right thing" even though it may feel like it.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:47 am

[8] One key difference from football, is baseball has much more action depending on individual calls. Overturning calls will also mean unwinding actions, which could create a bigger mess than a blown call.

11 Yankee Mama   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:47 am

[6] I agree. I also think that MLB has the perfect opening to use this event as a catalyst for change. Wh shouldn't important calls be reviewed. We're not talking balls and strikes. we'll live with those imperfections.

I think instant replay will relieve the pressure the umpires have to get it right. They are rightfully under scrutiny for their blatant missed calls. Wouldn't it be advantageous for them to have the same tools we have if they get it wrong or right?

Also, I know that a perfect game is a personal stat, but without the defense, a perfect game won't happen. The players up their game as they taste being a part of history. Also, it they're sitting on the first perfect game in franchise history, all the more important to baseball.

12 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:49 am

[11] Without the defense, very little would happen. Everything in baseball is really a team achievement, but some individuals have a greater say.

13 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 3, 2010 10:59 am

[7] in this case, selective judgement is more fair than injustice, in my opinion.

Yes, baseball honors the umpire’s judgment, but in this case, the umpire acknowledges he was terribly wrong.

If baseball overturns this call, where do you stop? You stop at this game.
Galarraga's rightful place in baseball history is at stake. He was robbed. Joyce admits he robbed the kid. Justice would have what was taken from Galarraga returned to him.

14 Dimelo   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:06 am

Why don't we talk about Cabrera's error in judgement, he never should have gone that far out to field the ball. That was the 2nd baseman's ball.

I just think overturning is far worse than just dealing with the simple fact of life, a human made a mistake.

I do like replay being used for homerun calls, but for other things? I don't think it's required. I think the umpires,for the most part, do an awesome job. They miss some calls, some are against your team, some are for your team, at some point it all evens out.

Though, I'm sure Don Dekinger is laughing somewhere. I always thought it was great when Herzog invited Dekinger to a reunion of the '85 cards team, I thought it was 2005, and Herzog gives him a gift - a watch, a braille watch.

15 Dimelo   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:11 am

[13] So personal achievement is greater than a team winning a game? Like William referenced the Seattle game. How about the 85 world series? Why don't they overturn Dekinger's call? Or is a world series championship not as important as a perfect game.

I think it's better if it stays as it is. We'll talk more about this game now than if it were a perfect game. Out of all the perfect games, I can only seem to remember the one's Yankee pitchers were involved in anyway, but I'll remember this non perfect game. That's the silver lining.

16 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:16 am

[14] and galarraga's footwork around the bag was also "imperfect." he made a last second stab for the bag, which, combined w/ cabrera's wide ranging lunge and slight hesitation before he threw, contibuted an air of closeness and confusion to the play. if he makes a beeline for the bag and gets there properly, he gets the call, i think.

on the initial play, at fast speed, i thought it was very close. it was not until the replay broke it down did it seem a really bad call.

17 Dimelo   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:27 am

[16] yeah, i agree, the play in normal speed looks much closer. The slow motion replay made it look really, really bad. Oh well.

18 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:31 am

15]I'm not saying individual achievements are more important than team wins, but I don't think MLB should revisit past games, World Series or otherwise.

Im just saying under these unusual circumstances I have no problem with Selig stepping in to correct an error that was admittedly made by an umpire AFTER last night's perfect game had ended.

If the call isn't overturned? What can you do? This too shall pass, and all that. But Galarrraga got royally screwed, Joyce admits it, and I wouldn't mind seeing the pitcher get the recognition he deserves.

19 Dimelo   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:43 am

[18] I know what you mean, but those are the breaks. I feel bad for Galarraga but I also feel bad for Joyce, they've all acted really classy about this all.

And, even after all this bantering, oil is still leaking out in the gulf.

20 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:45 am

[18] How about the ball on display in the Hall of Fame, and a little blurb explaining the circumstances? Like Alex said yesterday - the "28 out perfect game"? Isn't that really most of the regocnition these guys get? Apart from appearing on wikipedia and baseball-reference.com lists?

Otherwise, as most have pointed out, in the forum of publice discourse, this guy has already received more regocnition than most perfectos get.

21 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:57 am

[20] I like the idea of putting the game ball on display, and the footnote. good call, and good points about the perfecto recognition.

the Hall of Fame display should include a shot of Galarraga smiling after the call, and Joyce's tortured comments afterward. 100 years from now it'll still be a helluva baseball story.

22 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 3, 2010 11:58 am

[20. 21]


23 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 3, 2010 12:20 pm

"9-1 all expenses included Royal Caribbean cruise of a win"

Brilliant, Emma. Even for you.

24 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 3, 2010 12:25 pm

Thanks for all that, Emma. A-material among A-material.
I thank you for the hearty belly laughs (the people around me in the cafe kept looking over, wondering what in tarnation was so damned amusing).

25 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 3, 2010 12:27 pm

[3] Is that like "He really Shrooted it!" (from "The Office" (US), of course!)?


26 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 3, 2010 12:27 pm

[3] Should eventually be shortened to just "joyced." Punchier, no?

27 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 3, 2010 12:30 pm

Agreed with william and Dimelo. Wholeheartedly.
Case very eloquently stated by both of you.

28 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 3, 2010 12:39 pm

[20] Hear, hear, Jon. Well said. Great solution.
You're absolutely right, he's already got the "recognition." Now it's just a matter of memorializing it somehow.

Perfect or not, now it's clearly *historic* and that's the important thing.

29 rbj   ~  Jun 3, 2010 1:06 pm

[25, 26] Haven't seen The Office. I do watch Three Sheets -- a show about drinking around the world and whenever someone spills beer on them it's called Jimmed the Cop in honor of one guy they had one who spilled beer on himself.

30 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 3, 2010 1:09 pm

I am not sure why we are talking about overturning one call... one call of many, many bad calls in MLB history.

Why aren't we talking about PREVENTING these bad calls from happening many, many more times in the future?

It is the human condition to make mistakes.
But sometimes we realize these mistakes and take actions to prevent them in the future.

I believe they call this progress.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver